Police attacked at death crash scene

Source: The Irish Examiner
Date: August 19, 2001

A frantic rescue operation to free casualties from a car crash in which three people were killed was hampered by attacks on police, fire chiefs said today.

Two men and a woman died after their Rover car collided with a Toyota MR2 at Templepatrick, Co Antrim.

Three others were injured in the accident on the Belfast Road between the Dunadry Inn and the Twelfth Milestone roundabout.

But as fire crews battled to cut one man from the wreckage of the vehicle in which his companions died, an angry mob began attacking RUC officers who were trying to secure the scene.

Northern Ireland Fire Brigade Station officer Aidan Magennis said his men's urgent work was hindered by the crowd.

''It was made very difficult by those in the background attacking police,'' he said.

''We were trying to focus on releasing the casualties but it was very distracting to have this going on in the background.''

Two police officers suffered injuries when they were physically attacked by those gathered at the scene. It is believed the crowd may have known some of the victims.

Mr Magennis said the RUC's job had been made difficult enough by the force of the collision, which left the two cars some 40 metres apart.

The black MR2 had been spotted by police facing in the wrong direction on the roundabout just before the crash occurred.

RUC Chief Inspector Pater McAuley appealed for witnesses to the accident to come forward.

Meanwhile a teenager has died after his Citroen Saxo car struck a lamppost on the Comber Road at Dundonald, on the outskirts of Belfast early today.

No other vehicles were involved in the accident.