'˜If we'd driven out a second before we'd have been killed'
A north Belfast man says he, his partner and their friend are lucky to be alive after they were almost hit by a stolen car as it careered down the Crumlin Road shortly before crashing.
Seven people, including a child, were taken to hospital following the collision near Ardoyne shops on Tuesday evening.
One man remains “critically ill” in the Royal Victoria Hospital.
Five other vehicles were hit as the stolen vehicle sped down the Crumlin Road shortly before 7pm.
Police said the black Audi A1 car, which flipped in the air and landed on its roof, had been reported stolen from Thirlmere Gardens in north Belfast in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Thomas Mathers told the News Letter how his partner Jenny was giving him and a friend a lift to the local pigeon club to watch the England World Cup match when they were almost hit by the stolen car.
“We were just coming out at Wheatfield Crescent onto the Crumlin Road and a car had stopped to let us out onto the road. We had just driven out and your man came flying down. He was absolutely hammering. He must have been doing about 80 to 100 miles an hour,” he said.
“Jenny had to slam the brakes on. Luckily she just saw him appear from nowhere, hammering down the road. If she hadn’t seen him he would have hit us.
“If we had driven on out a second before that he would have gone right into the side of us and we’d have been killed. It was that close. It was scary.
“It’s incredible that nobody was killed.”
The 50-year-old van driver from Glenbryn didn’t witness the horrific crash, but heard the carnage unfold as they drove up the road a few hundred yards away.
“He swerved to miss a car that was coming out on the other side of the road and that must have been when he started to lose it. When we turned up the road we only drove a few feet when we heard the bang,” he continued.
“My partner is a nurse and she turned round to go down to see if she could help, but the police weren’t letting anybody near the place.”
The car was being pursued by specialist PSNI officers when the crash occurred, and the Police Ombudsman’s Office has begun an investigation into the circumstances of the collision.
Police have appealed for anyone who spotted the Audi car, registration GD18 SJU, between Sunday and Tuesday to contact them on 101 quoting reference 1442 3/07/18.
• Police investigating a serious one-vehicle road traffic collision involving a blue Toyota Yaris on the Killyleagh Road, Killinchy at approximately 12.30am on Wednesday have urged witnesses to come forward.
The female driver of the vehicle was taken to hospital for treatment to her injuries.
Police at Newtownards can be contacted on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 56 04/07/18.