Five officers injured in high speed pursuit crash

July 20, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

Five police officers were injured when their patrol cars were involved in a collision while in pursuit of a vehicle close to the village of Dorsey in south Armagh recently, the Examiner has learned.

In an encounter more suited to the streets of a major city than a quiet, rural village, the PSNI has confirmed details of the incident which occurred on the Carrickrovaddy Road in the village on Thursday, July 1st.

Eyewitnesses said up to six police vehicles were involved in a high speed chase which ended with two Vauxhall Vectra police cars and a Citroen Berlingo van crashing and injuring the five officers.

The police officers were travelling in a convoy along the Carrickrovaddy Road when they were alerted to a motorist driving the van in the opposite direction.  Believing the van driver to have been committing a driving offence, the officers turned their vehicles and gave chase.

The high-speed pursuit had advanced just a short distance when a slow-moving lorry obstructed the narrow country road.  According to the eyewitness, a police car then rammed the van in an attempt to bring it to a halt. This collision caused both vehicles to spin around on the road, at which point a second patrol car crashed into the prone cars and overturned.  Approaching at speed, a third patrol car swerved to avoid the pile up and hit a pole.

The pursued driver then attempted to flee by driving across fields. However, within minutes a helicopter arrived and brought the fleeing vehicle to a final halt and the driver was arrested.

Meanwhile, paramedics and fire crews attended the scene and five police officers were taken to hospital with, what a police spokesperson described as, minor injuries.

Following the incident, a 36-year-old man appeared at Newry court on July 2nd charged with dangerous driving, driving whilst unfit and other motoring offences, the police spokesperson confirmed.