PSNI: We weren't chasing car that killed young mum
The PSNI has said it was not pursuing a suspected stolen car that struck and killed a young mother in north Belfast.
The collision took place yesterday morning on the Ballysillan Road, where a 39-year-old man was arrested.
He was charged with a number of offences including causing death by dangerous driving and is to appear in court on Friday.
Last night the full circumstances of the crash involving three cars and a small lorry were being investigated by the Police Ombudsman.
It is understood the victim, named locally as Lisa Gow, had been at a lay-by opposite an entrance to Ballysillan Leisure Centre on her way to a local shop when she was struck.
She was taken to hospital by air ambulance, but could not be saved.
Ms Gow, who was in her 30s, is survived by her partner and two young children.
An eyewitness said they had seen an Audi car travelling at speed, before it collided with a truck and struck Ms Gow.
"It didn't seem right in a built-up area where there are a lot of people, close to schools and a leisure centre," they said. "I've never seen anything like it."
The road was closed yesterday while officers and Police Ombudsman investigators examined the scene.
Last night PSNI Superintendent Melanie Jones offered condolences to the victim's family.
She said police had received a report that an Audi A4 car had been stolen from outside a house on Cavehill Road just after 8am yesterday.
"Suspecting the vehicle was still in the north Belfast area, police officers were deployed to search for it," she explained.
"Just after 10.40am the vehicle was located by the police helicopter, who in adherence to strict procedures, followed the car towards Fortwilliam, where it exited onto the Shore Road.
"As the car then travelled onto the Antrim Road, in line with procedure designed to bring a vehicle to a controlled stop, other trained officers deployed a 'stinger' device; however, the driver of the stolen vehicle failed to stop.
"After following at a distance, due to concerns about the dangerous manner in which the stolen car was being driven, specially trained officers ended their pursuit, handing over to the police helicopter.
"As the stolen car travelled along the Ballysillan Road, it collided with a vehicle before then colliding with and killing a female pedestrian.
"A 39-year-old man was arrested and taken to Musgrave PSNI station for questioning."
The Police Ombudsman's Office said that it was investigating the actions taken by the police.
"The PSNI informed us that its officers had been involved in a pursuit of a vehicle involved in the collision," it said.
"A stinger device is also believed to have been used by police.
"We are now investigating the actions taken by police in the period prior to the collision.
"Our investigators have been at the scene and are continuing to make enquiries.
"I would like to take this opportunity to express our sympathies to the family and friends of the woman who died."
Local politicians expressed their horror over yesterday's fatal crash.
North Belfast DUP MLA William Humphrey offered his sympathies to the victim's family.
"It is appalling that the death on Ballysillan Road was caused by a suspected stolen car. The life of a local woman has been taken as a result of this reckless crime," he said.
"My deepest sympathy goes out to her family who have been suddenly and terribly bereaved."
North Belfast Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly also expressed his sympathies.
"The community was shocked to hear of the tragic death which occurred in the Ballysillan Road area of north Belfast," he said.
"I want to extend my condolences to the family and friends of the woman killed and ask anyone who may have been in the vicinity at the time of the incident to come forward with that information."
Local SDLP councillor Paul McCusker added: "Death drivers have no place in our society and they serve no other purpose than to terrorise communities.
"My thoughts go out to the family and I would appeal for anyone with information to come forward to the PSNI."
Police urged anyone with information to get in touch.
They want anyone who may have seen the stolen grey Audi A4 car, registration number OFZ 8287, between 6.30pm on Wednesday and 10.50am yesterday to contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 463 19/04/18."