The Carrickfergus community is in shock following the death of seven-year-old Jackson Turner as a result of a road accident late on Boxing Day.
East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson has described as “heart-breaking” the death of the Sunnylands Primary School P4 pupil.
“This is a tragic occurrence at any time, but is particularly heart-breaking at Christmas,” said Mr Dickson.
“My prayers are with the family and friends of young Jackson, who must be absolutely devastated,” he added. “This horrific incident is every parent’s worst nightmare.”
Mr Dickson said: The local community are in shock – my thoughts are with everyone affected, including the principal, staff, pupils and parents at Sunnylands Primary School, as they come to terms with this sad news.”
Another Assembly member for East Antrim, Oliver McMullan, expressed his condolences to Jackson’s family and friends
He said: “The death of seven-year-old Jackson Turner is an absolute tragedy. It has brought shock and sadness to the entire community.
“A death on the roads at any time is terrible, but it is made all the more poignant when it is someone so young at Christmas time.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends and all the staff and pupils at Sunnylands Primary School in Carrickfergus.”
Councillor Noel Jordan from Carrickfergus also passed on his condolences to the Turner family.
“I would like to express my sincere and deepest sympathy to the Turner family from Carrickfergus on the devastating loss of their son Jackson who sadly lost his life in a tragic car accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this very sad time,” the UKIP representative said.
Gareth Hamilton, the principal of Sunnylands Primary School, said Jackson was “a real character”.
“If there was something going on, he wanted to be part of it,” he added.
“He was very much full of life and a real character within the school.”
Mr Hamilton said that counselling will be made available to pupils at Sunnylands and indicated that a special assembly will be held when the school reconvenes in January.
The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Thomas Hogg commented: “My heartfelt prayers and condolences go to the family of Jackson Turner who was tragically killed in this collision. This is absolutely dreadful news during the Christmas period and the tragedy has brought great shock to the local area.
“My thoughts are with all injured in the collision and I hope that they will make a full recovery.”
Seven other people were injured when three vehicles collided at Old Carrick Road at about 6.30pm on Saturday night.
The woman who was driving the car Jackson was travelling in remains in hospital with serious injuries.
Jackson’s four-year-old sister, who was also in the car, was less seriously hurt.
Five people from the two other cars were also injured, but none of their injuries are thought to be life-threatening.
In the hours after the crash, the Ambulance Service said that five patients had been taken to hospitals including Antrim, the Royal Victoria Hospital, and the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.
Police in Newtownabbey are appealing for information. They are keen to hear from anyone who saw the collision, which involved two Nissan cars and a Citroen.
The number to call is 101.