High-speed chase leaves garda fighting for life

A YOUNG garda was fighting for his life last night and another officer was hospitalised after a high-speed chase ended in a head-on collision with a suspected drunk driver.

Gary McLoughlin, 24, from Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, and Bernard McLoughlin, 23, from Gurteen, Co Sligo, were rushed to hospital after the crash in the early hours of yesterday morning at Lisfannon, near Burt, Co Donegal. The incident followed three deaths on the country’s roads on Saturday, in Dublin, Galway and Monaghan.

Sources close to the Donegal investigation confirmed that just after 1am two plainclothes officers identified a Northern Ireland-registered red Opel Astra speed away from a filling station in Buncrana and gave chase in their unmarked patrol car.

They followed the car in the direction of the border, but it is understood that minutes later the fleeing motorist did a u-turn to drive back in the direction of Letterkenny.

The patrol car tried to block the escape with what is believed to have been a “stinger” device which can quickly puncture wheels, but it did not stop the car and a head-on collision occurred at high-speed.

All three men were rushed to Letterkenny General Hospital, with one of the officers suffering serious injuries in the crash and needing several blood transfusions.

It is understood the driver of the Opel Astra was processed for drink-driving while at the hospital.

“These two gardaí were injured while out in service of the community. I hope that both of them make a full recovery,” said Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission appealed for help from motorists on the Letterkenny to Derry road between 1am and 2am on Sunday morning to contact its witness appeal line at 1890 600800.

Meanwhile, an 80-year-old pedestrian killed after being hit by a car near Emyvale, Co Monaghan, on Saturday evening was named locally as Charlie Keenan, who lived in a caravan provided by the county council about six miles from the village.

Earlier on Saturday, a 26-year-old woman died when the car in which she was a passenger crashed with another car on the N18 near Oranmore, Co Galway at around 7am.

Another two-car crash at around 9.20am on Saturday claimed the life of a man in his twenties who was driving one of the vehicles involved at Castlecurragh Road in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.


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