Garda is quizzed over squad car hit-and-run
An off-duty garda was arrested for drink driving after a three-car smash that led to three people being hospitalised, including two other officers.
The incident unfolded at around 11.20pm on Saturday when officers in a garda patrol car noticed a broken-down vehicle on the hard shoulder of the N2, near Moyles, Co Monaghan.
The gardai pulled in and were helping the male driver when another vehicle ploughed into the back of the patrol car.
This caused the patrol car to ‘rear end’ the vehicle that had broken down.
The driver of the third car fled the scene but was arrested by gardai from Monaghan town a short time later.
Members of Monaghan Fire Brigade had to use specialist equipment to cut one of the gardai free from the smashed patrol car.
The two gardai and the motorist they were helping were hospitalised, but their injuries were not life-threatening.
Sources said that, to the shock of the arresting gardai, it later emerged that the driver that crashed into the squad car was an officer based at a
garda station close to the Border.
The garda was then “processed” at Monaghan Garda Station, before being released without charge.
A file will now be prepared for the DPP. Sources said that the young garda is likely to face an internal disciplinary probe as well.
The crash is now the subject of an investigation by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman (GSOC).
Local councillor Noel French described the incident as “unfortunate” and expressed relief that nobody was fatally injured.
“The fact that nobody was killed is something to be thankful for, I’ve campaigned in the past to make the road safer because people have lost their lives on that road before,” he said.
The 2km stretch of road is the main road linking Dublin to Derry, via the border county.
Mr French highlighted the serious consequences of drink driving, with the latest statistics from the Road Safety Authority showing that one-in-three fatal collisions is alcohol related.
Monaghan was also recently revealed as the worst county in Ireland for drink-driving offences.
An average of 51.5 motorists per 1,000 of population have been caught drink driving by gardai, with this figure almost double for the border town.
Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that 98 drivers per 1,000 have been caught for driving while under the influence of alcohol in Monaghan.