A police officer was forced to jump out of the path of a speeding van that mounted a kerb to dodge a stinger device on the Derry to Donegal border on Sunday, the PSNI have confirmed.
Strand Road PSNI stated that the officer narrowly escaped death when the driver of the van failed to stop at a police checkpoint..
The PSNI were supporting colleagues in An Garda Síochána who had a busy weekend policing the hugely popular Donegal Rally between Friday and Sunday.
Officers revealed that the driver of a White Vauxhall Combo van failed to stop when signalled to do so at Coshquin and travelled on towards Bridgend where it soon came to the attention of the Gardai.
“It fled over the border. Gardaí chased it back into the North along the Coshquin Road,” the PSNI stated.
When a stinger spike strip was deployed the driver provided a textbook example of criminal motoring madness.
“The van mounted the verge at speed and narrowly missed knocking my colleague down,” an officer stated.
The PSNI confirmed that the van was later recovered by Gardaí with just two tyres.
“Our lucky stinger operator seemed to get the job half done as he was jumping out the way,” police confirmed.
Meanwhile, Gardaí in Letterkenny confirmed 82 people were arrested over the big Donegal Rally weekend.
While many of the arrests related to public disorder (46), drugs (five) or were made under the Mental Health Act (two), there were many incidents involving suspected road traffic offences.
For example, 18 people were arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving with a further 10 suspected of drink driving. Gardaí said that were a number of reported incidents between Letterkenny and Bridgend. At 11.30 p.m. on Friday evening there was a reported instance of dangerous driving in Newtowncunningham. On Sunday there were similar reported incidents at 4.30 a.m. in Burt and at 11.30 p.m. in Manorcunningham.
Prior to last Sunday’s near miss in the Coshquin area, the PSNI in Derry had signalled their intention of using stingers to clampdown on road traffic crime last weekend.
Joining colleagues from An Garda Síochána on the Derry-Donegal border area on Friday, the force publicly warned how the PSNI standard issue spike strip had over 100 spikes.
Prior to the Donegal Rally, the PSNI stated: “We are more than happy to fill all four of your tyres with these little gems,” the PSNI warned.
“So if you’re at the Donegal Rally take a minute to think whether you want your licence taken, tyres burst and car seized.”
Away from the border, police traffic officers were also busy and confirmed that they caught a motorist performing ‘doughnuts’ during rush hour on the Glenshane Road on Friday last.
“There was a large amount of smoke and visibility was poor. The Sergeant was quick to respond and was less than happy when he realised the smoke was actually a vehicle doing ‘doughnuts’ in the middle of the road .
“As most of you are aware the Glenshane is an extremely busy road with plenty of fast moving traffic.
“So you can imagine our boss was less than impressed. Especially when he noted a number of other ‘road users’ parked up watching the display.”
The driver and two passengers were ‘spoken to’ while his vehicle, which was in a dangerous condition, was seized, police said.
“Needless to say he didn’t get to the Donegal Rally,” a police spokesman added.
“Please, please, please remember our roads are not rally tracks. We all have family who use these roads and in our professional capacity, we do not want to be landing at anyone’s door with our hat in our hands to deliver that message because some ‘doughnut’ thought he or she would show off,” the force added.