Northern Ireland hit and run Twelfth horror caught on film
‘It was horrific, they were all screaming for help’
These shocking pictures show the horrifying scene as a car ploughed into families celebrating an 11th Night bonfire, leaving men, women and children lying bloodied and bruised in the street.
The incident was captured by Polish photographer Lucas Ludziejewski as pensioners, mums and dads, young girls, friends and neighbours gathered to watch the lighting of the bonfire at Coolfin Street off the Donegall Road in the Village area of Belfast.
There was a carnival spirit on the streets ahead of the accident and no-one threw a second glance at the silver Rover car inching its way through the crowds on Coolfin Street shortly after 1am.
But within seconds, after being asked to reverse back down the street by revellers, the driver of the vehicle wreaked havoc and brought terror to what had been a party.
The young male driver put his foot on the accelerator and drove at up to 12 people, badly injuring, among others, two children, and crushing a baby’s pushchair and knocking a woman from a wheelchair.
The pictures show how a |number of men tried to pursue the vehicle, but were unable to keep up with him.
Three generations of one family were taken to hospital for their injuries.
Men and women were pushed onto the driver's bonnet and propelled flying into the air.
Sobbing teenagers were comforted on the street by firefighters.
Mr Ludziejewski said he was sickened by the scene. “It was a good party, people were having fun,” he said.
“There was a car on the road, just in the middle of the street, I thought there was something wrong or there must have been an accident because I knew there wasn't supposed to be a car there.
“A couple of people waved at him and told him to go back, to turn around or reverse because the road was closed.
“But then he just went for them, he went for the whole street, he must have hit about 12 people.
“It was horrific. There was one man lying in the street not moving, he had a woman and kids with him and they were screaming and calling for help. It was awful.
“At that time people did not want me to be taking pictures of injured people on the ground, so I put my camera away.”
DUP councillor Ruth Patterson had just left the scene when she got an urgent phone call to come and help.
“It was surreal. One minute there was a carnival atmosphere, the next there were 10 ambulances lined up on the streets.
“I had been there earlier, just as the bonfire had been lit, and I had not been away long when I got a phone call telling me I better get back quick because something awful had happened.
“When I came back it was like a scene of carnage. I remember very clearly a fireman cradling a crying woman as she lay on the ground.”
UUP councillor Bob Stoker was also present and saw what happened.
“There was everyone out, from children to parents and grandparents, it was a great big crowd of hundreds of people,” he said.
“A grey car started to approach very slowly and no one thought anything of it.
“All of a sudden it sped up. It hit about 10 or 12 people, and I know about 10 had to be taken to hospital.
“There was no warning, no nothing. Nobody had acted aggressively or threatened this driver.
“There were people knocked flying, there was blood all over the road, there were bodies lying everywhere.
“At the start there was panic and pandemonium, but then people realised that they needed to be calm and collected with so many injured.
“There were about nine or 10 ambulances and the Fire Service were there as well and dealt with the situation brilliantly.”