Ardoyne crash: Stolen Audi spotted driving 'erratically' before police gave chase
The stolen Audi involved in the horrific crash in north Belfast was spotted being driven erratically before police gave chase, a senior officer said.
Seven people including a baby thought to be four months old, were taken to hospital after the crash on Tuesday evening in front of the Ardoyne shops on the Crumlin Road.
Six cars were involved and property in the area damaged. Witnesses described hearing a loud bang, like an explosion or thunder.
One eyewitness, who had been working in a local shop at the time of the crash, said she had "looked out the window to see a car tipping over".
"Everyone ran out of all the shops to see what was going on and to help," she said, "The scene was horrible, it took me by surprise - you don't expect to see that.
"The ambulance station is nearby so they were on the scene very quickly. Everyone has been talking about it today, the whole community is in shock."
The aftermath scene was described as "carnage" by one councillor on the scene with reports of people lying on the road. Five adults were taken to the Royal with one woman transferred to the Mater. The baby was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children.
Two of the adults and the child have since been discharged while one of those involved remains critically ill in hospital. Three others were reported to be seriously hurt.
Police said the black Audi A1 car involved was stolen from Thirlmere Gardens off the Cavehill Road in the early hours of Sunday.
Superintendent Muir Clark added: “While I would like to thank those witnesses who have already come forward, I appeal to anyone who has any information about this collision, or who may have seen the distinctive Black Audi A1 car, registration number GD18SJU, between the time it was reported stolen from Thirlmere Gardens in north Belfast at 2.30am Sunday 1 July through to 6.55pm on Tuesday 3 July, to contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 1442 3/07/18."
He added: "I can confirm that following a number of reports about the black Audi being driven erratically in the north Belfast area yesterday evening, police patrols were alerted to search for the vehicle. Specially trained police officers subsequently located the stolen car.
"The car failed to stop, made off and police initiated a pursuit. The car crashed a short time later.
“As is normal practice, The Police Ombudsman’s Office have been notified and are currently investigating the circumstances leading up to the collision therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further pending the outcome of that investigation.”
A Police Ombudsman spokesman added: "Police notified us immediately after the crash as one of their vehicles had been in pursuit of the Audi car.
"Our investigators have been to the scene. Their focus will be to establish what happened prior to the crash and in particular, the movements of the police vehicle.”
The incident comes after a similar police chase ended in tragedy earlier this year. In April Lisa Gow was killed when a stolen car being chased by police crashed fatally injuring the mother as she walked along the Ballysillan Road - not far from Tuesday's crash. In that case the car had also been stolen from the Cavehill area.
Belfast Telegraph Digital