Callum Dale, 13, an only child who had Asperger’s syndrome, had ran out of his home in Buncrana and had been followed by his mother and father.
Minutes later he was killed at Ballymacarry on the outskirts of the town. Callum, who was a pupil at the secondary school Crana College, died instantly.
His father, who is 51, was also struck by the car at around 10.30pm on Thursday.
He was rushed to Letterkenny General Hospital where his condition is described as critical.
However, it is not believed his injuries are life-threatening.
A source said that Callum had sat down in the middle of the road and dad Peter had been persuading him to come off the road when they were both struck by a car.
“Peter was trying to get Callum off the road and in between the confusion they were struck by the car. It is just horrific,” said the source.
“Callum’s mum Deirdre saw the whole thing and she is just devastated. They doted on Callum and it is just so tragic.”
The woman driving the Open Minerva car tried to stop but could not. The woman’s own sister was killed on the same road more than 20 years ago.
The woman was not injured but she was treated for shock.
Local councillor Ciaran McLaughlin said the town had been plunged into a deep sadness.
“People were getting ready for St Patrick’s Day and the parade and having a bit of fun. But this has completely changed the mood. All anyone can talk about is this poor family and what has happened.
“It was just a freak accident and it’s the last thing that Inishowen needs after all the tragedies we have suffered on our roads over the years. Our thoughts and prayers are with this family at this time,” he said.
Garda Supt Eugene McGovern said: “There was public lighting in the area but it was dark.
“We would appeal to anyone who was in the area to contact us.
“It is just a very tragic accident.”
Anyone with information should contact Buncrana Garda station on 074-9320540.