Belfast Telegraph

MLA in lucky escape as 'looper' driver forces his car into hedge

By Jonathan Bell

An MLA has spoken of how he was "nearly killed" by a reckless driver while out on the roads around Belfast.

The DUP's Christopher Stalford hit out at the "looper" who thought she could steer one-handed while using her other hand to drink coffee and smoke a cigarette, all while speeding down a tight country road.

The 34-year-old was driving along the Middle Braniel Road on the outskirts of the city yesterday morning.

As he made his way along the narrow road a large BMW 4x4 came careering towards him doing around 60mph.

The female behind the wheel was drinking her morning cuppa and at the same time having a smoke.

"To the looper who thinks it is possible to drive a BMW jeep whilst drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette at 60mph on the Middle Braniel Road, thank you very much," said the South Belfast Assembly Member in a Facebook post.

"Not only did you near kill me, you forced me into a hedge and I have a big job of getting the scratching off one side of my car! Moron."

The Middle Braniel Road is in the Castlereagh Hills.

It is narrow and has only really the space to allow one vehicle to travel along it at a time, meaning that when Mr Stalford was confronted by the woman he had little option but to veer into a ditch to dodge her, scratching his paintwork in the process.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the father-of-three said it had been a very frightening experience.

"Mercifully, the children were not in the car with me," he explained.

"It's a small country road, so obviously she couldn't steer so well and it was up to me to try and avoid her.

"I was a bit rattled, but thankfully it was nothing too serious in the end.

"Fortunately, there was no real harm done.

"The side of the car just brushed along the hedge and there were a lot of scratches.

"Most of them did manage to eventually buff out after a bit of work."

Mr Stalford said he spent over an hour treating his car with T-Cut and a paint repair kit.

"It's OK," he added.

"It shows you can't do more than one thing at a time at the wheel, never mind drinking and smoking. It is important to focus on the road ahead.

"Luckily it was just a trip into a hedge for me and nothing more serious."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph