herald

Sunday 9 December 2018

'He could have been killed' - shock as garda dragged along road by driver fleeing checkpoint

The crashed Volvo
The crashed Volvo
Eyewitness Robert Hoca told how the drama concluded

A Garda suffered severe arm and leg injuries after being dragged along the road by a 4x4 in Dublin yesterday.

The woman driver of the Volvo XC90 suddenly accelerated away as traffic officer Garda Tom Gallagher was questioning her in the city centre.

A witness described how he was dragged around 30m along the road.

The incident started at Macken Street at around 10am and ended when the 4x4 crashed into a city council vehicle at Waterloo Road just four minutes later.

Injured

"He could have been killed," a female witness told the Herald.

"The driver's door was open, and he was talking to the woman, who appeared to be rowing with him, when she suddenly drove away."

Outlining the sequence of events that led to Gda Gallagher being injured, the witness said she had seen the Volvo car at around 10am parked on the road where she lives.

"There was a garda van behind it, and there were two gardai. It looked like they had stopped the car and were checking the driver's details," she said. "They were there for ages. It seemed like an hour. The woman seemed to be arguing a lot, and I could hear her shouting.

"There was a man in the passenger seat."

The situation then took a dramatic and dangerous turn.

"One of the gardai was standing behind the car, and the other was standing in the opening of the door, between the door and the driver," the witness added.

"Then she just accelerated away, kind of on the wrong side of the road, and went speeding up the road with the garda being dragged along.

"He eventually fell away from the car and was lying on his stomach on the road.

"The other garda ran to him, and his colleague was just lying on the road. It was awful, it all happened all of a sudden.

"The ambulance and fire brigade came quickly, and other gardai. The ambulance crew spent a good while treating him at the scene before he was transferred into the ambulance and driven away."

After this happened, the woman drove the vehicle from Macken Street to the Dublin 4 area, where it crashed and its two occupants fled on foot.

This sparked a major manhunt involving armed gardai and the garda helicopter.

Knives

Officers had received reports that the suspects were armed with knives.

The two occupants of the vehicle were located after they had gained access to an unoccupied apartment at Waterloo Lane, Ballsbridge.

They were arrested and taken to Irishtown Garda Station for questioning.

Eyewitness Robert Hoca told how he saw the drama conclude.

He said the Volvo came from the direction of Baggot Street Bridge and crashed into a council vehicle that is used to empty street bins.

"They crashed just at the junction with Waterloo Road," he told the Herald.

"There was a woman driving and a man in the passenger seat. They got out and were trying to open the back doors of the car, but they couldn't.

"Then the man went up the road, and he was shouting at the woman to go with him.

"They didn't even check to see if anyone who was in the small bin truck was OK.

"At first when we saw them trying to open the back doors, we thought there might be kids in the car because the man and woman seemed very anxious," he added.

"Then, in the space of five minutes, around 10 garda cars arrived and started searching the area."

Another witness said that the Volvo came speeding up Haddington Road with one of the front tyres blown out.

"It was making a lot of noise but wasn't being chased or anything. It was flying," said the man.

"The car then turned left onto Baggot Street. It then tried to turn right onto Waterloo Road but crashed into a small council bin truck."

The 29-year-old arrested woman - who has twice previously threatened gardai with blood-filled syringes - was still being questioned last night about the incident.

It has been confirmed that she was being held, along with a male associate, at Irishtown Garda Station after a major manhunt in Dublin 4 yesterday morning.

The female suspect has been identified as the driver of the vehicle which almost led to the death of family man Gda Gallagher, who has since been discharged from hospital.

Ordeal

Medical equipment could still be seen yesterday afternoon on the roadside where he came to a halt at the end of his horrifying ordeal.

The female suspect in custody has previously been the victim of extreme violence.

She needed life-saving surgery when she had an artery in her arm cut with a blade.

However, she has also come to the attention of gardai on numerous occasions and has served a number of jail sentences.

Last year, the woman received a suspended sentence after she admitted threatening gardai with blood-filled syringes while she was suffering from drug-induced hallucinations.

Sources said she is likely to be brought before the courts as early as today.

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