THREE County Carlow gardaí were left injured and “traumatised” after a car carrying three men rammed two patrol vehicles while travelling at speed through the county.
The garda cars were rammed at two separate locations in Myshall and outside Carlow train station by the vehicle, with one fleet-footed garda forced to jump onto the bonnet of a car to avoid being struck.
The incident began as Tullow-based gardaí Walter Hovenden and Martin Heffernan were carrying out a routine checkpoint on the N80 Carlow/Wexford Road at Craan, Clonegal, shortly before midnight last Saturday.
A Dublin-registered black BMW with three male occupants failed to stop at the checkpoint and was subsequently pursued by the gardaí. The BMW suddenly took off in the direction of Myshall, travelling at speed along country roads, with the culprits throwing items out of the car windows en route.
Outside Myshall Community Centre, the patrol car, with garda Hovenden and Heffernan inside, was rammed by the BMW. Then it again took off, driving into Fenagh, then to the Fighting Cocks before travelling at sped in the direction of Carlow town.
The gardaí had radioed for assistance, with local gardaí as well as the Southeast Regional Support Unit coming to their aid.
“We were concerned that they would get to the motorway and away, so the motorway junction at Tinryland was blocked by gardaí,” explained Supt Gerry Redmond.
The offenders continued into Carlow town, then eventually, at Carlow train station on St Joseph’s Road, they were approached by an unmarked patrol car with detective gardaí Donal Lalor and John Byrne inside.
The assailants repeatedly rammed the unmarked garda car containing the detectives. It is alleged that they also attempted to make a getaway as the brave gardaí got out of their own car and approached the vehicle to speak to its occupants.
The three occupants, three males aged in their 20s, were arrested at the scene and brought to Carlow Garda Station. A small amount of cocaine (pending analysis) was recovered by investigating gardaí and a technical examination of the scene took place.
The three men were subsequently charged with the possession of drugs for sale or supply and also brought before a sitting of Kilkenny District Court yesterday (Monday).
A file will be send to the DPP and further charges are expected.
Gardaí Heffernan, Lalor and Byrne were taken to St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny following the incident but were released a short time later.
It is understood that Garda Heffernan suffered a hand injury, Garda Lalor chest and back injuries, while Garda Byrne required a number of stitches, also for a hand injury.
Supt Redmond confirmed to The Nationalist that the gardaí involved were injured, “shook and traumatised” by the incident but are making a recovery with the full support of An Garda Síochána
“I would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed this car en route, beginning at Craan, then cross-country to Myshall, Fenagh, Fighting Cocks, Tinryland, then eventually, Carlow train station to contact gardaí,” said Supt Redmond. “Also, anyone who may have recovered items along the route that they feel may be connected to this to contact gardaí.”