Gardaí are appealing for witnesses after a hit and run in which an off duty garda's foot was severed.
Niall Flood, from Dromcollogher, Co Limerick, was found seriously injured on the R522, situated between Dromcollogher and Feoghanagh, near Newcastle West, at around 7.15pm on Thursday night.
Gardaí are working on a theory that the motorist panicked after the collision, left the scene, and drove to a house where Mr Flood’s foot was found stuck in the car after it had been severed in the collision. Gardaí were then alerted.
A woman in her 20s was arrested as part of the Garda probe into the “hit and run” collision.
Mr Flood, an inspector stationed at Henry Street, Limerick City and Newcastle West, was airlifted from the scene by the Irish Community Air Ambulance charity, based in Rathcoole Aerodrome, Co Cork, to Cork University Hospital where he was in a serous but stable condition on Friday.
The rapid response of his garda colleagues and emergency first responders was praised for saving his life.
A spokesman for the Irish Community Air Ambulance said it was tasked to the incident at 7.19pm and “landed on scene 12 minutes later and transferred the patient to CUH in under 15 minutes”.
Newcastle West Fine Gael Councillor Liam Galvin paid tribute to Mr Flood who he described as an “excellent Garda”.
“I’ve known Niall a long time, he is an excellent garda, it’s just heartbreaking, because Niall is an absolute gentleman, and has always had the community at heart, and I can’t get it out of my head all day, my heart is breaking for the man.”
“He is one of the good guys, and our thoughts are with him and his wife, he had big ideas and plans for policing in Newcastle West and it is just a crying shame what has happened and I just hope he will get well.
“Niall’s love, first of all is his wife, of course, but his next passions were work and his bike, he just loved cycling, and it is just a bloody pity what happened.”
Mr Galvin said the injuries Mr Flood sustained are "horrific."
"I just want to wish him well. I made a few phone calls to his colleagues and they are devastated to be quite honest about it.
“I know him through the local JPC (Joint Policing Committee), he’s very much involved in the greyhounds, and so is his father in law, he is into sports, but most of all he is a community man," he said.
“I got to know him through the greyhounds and then in public life later on, and I always found him a gentleman, he was one of these guys that wanted to be in the police force for the good of the community, and it’s such a pity because Newcastle West needs a guy like Niall Flood — that’s the bottom line.”
Mr Flood’s foot was severed just below the shinbone above the ankle, and he sustained other multiple injuries.
Reliable sources said the rapid response emergency services saved his life.
It’s understood emergency responders placed a tourniquet on his injured leg to stem the blood flow and kept him conscious at the side of the road.
“He was inside in water at the stage when someone came to him and they helped him in anyway they could, he spoke to the guys who came on scene, and the first thing he said to them was ‘is my leg gone’,” said a source.
“He was talking, he was in severe pain, he’s a lucky man to be alive,” they added.
A Garda spokesman made an appeal “to any person who may have witnessed this collision to contact them, including any road users who were travelling on the R522 between Dromcollogher and Feohanagh at the time of the incident with camera footage (including dash cam)”.
“A car understood to be involved in the incident was seized for forensic examination. The scene has been examined by Garda Forensic Collision investigators and the road has since reopened to traffic,” said a garda spokesperson.
“Investigations are ongoing. No further information is available at this time,” he added.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Henry Street Garda Station (061212400) the Garda Confidential Line on (1800666666) or any Garda Station.