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Man dies in head-on crash as burglar flees wrong way down N7

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The N7 close to where the horror smash took place

The N7 close to where the horror smash took place

Colin Keegan

The N7 close to where the horror smash took place

An innocent man was killed in a horror road crash when a convicted burglar fled from gardaí before driving his car the wrong way down a dual-carriageway and smashing into his vehicle.

The deceased, named locally as Anatolie Butucel (45), was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering catastrophic injuries in the head-on collision on the N7 yesterday morning.

Mr Butucel, who had celebrated his birthday last Thursday, had been living in Crumlin and was originally from Moldova.

His front-seat passenger, a man aged in his 30s, was also seriously injured and last night remained in Tallaght Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Scoping

No arrests have yet been made and the matter is also being examined by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman (Gsoc) as the other vehicle involved, a Volkswagen Passat, had interacted with gardaí earlier.

The Herald can reveal that two men known to gardaí, aged 28 and 43, were seen acting suspiciously in the car by gardaí moments earlier.

"There was a suspicion that these men were involved in scoping properties for the purpose of burglaries earlier," a source said.

The car they were travelling in had also been in a chase with gardaí in Tallaght last week, but on that occasion managed to escape.

Gardaí signalled for the vehicle to stop but it took off, driving along a footpath at speed and ending up heading the wrong way outbound along the N7 dual-carriageway, at which point it wasn't being pursued.

A short time later, at Kingswood, the car ploughed head-on into the Yaris being driven by Mr Butucel.

The driver of the Passat was being treated for non-life threatening injuries at Tallaght hospital.

The 28-year-old has previous convictions for burglary, assault and public order crimes, and currently lives in a plush south Dublin area.

The passenger, a 43-year-old male, is originally from Tallaght and is also known to gardaí.

Manoeuvre

A source said: "This vehicle was seen acting suspiciously and performed an illegal manoeuvre before driving away from gardaí.

"There was completely irresponsible driving involved here, between mounting a footpath and speeding the wrong way down a dual-carriageway."

Investigators yesterday informed Mr Butucel's relatives in Moldova about the tragedy.

The road was closed temporarily for Forensic Collision Investigators to carry out an examination and was later re-opened.

A garda spokesman said: "As one of the vehicles came to the attention of gardaí prior to the incident, this matter has been referred to Gsoc."