Dash-cam video shows dangerous Hemel driver crashing into lorry during high-speed police chase

Shocking dash-cam footage shows a Hemel Hempstead man driving at speeds of up to 90mph during a seven-mile police chase in Suffolk.

Monday, 30th September 2019, 1:08 pm
The car smashed into a lorry on the main carriageway. Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

In August this year, police spotted a suspicious vehicle which had joined the A14 westbound carriageway in Bury St Edmunds.

The driver, Tommy McDonagh, 21, of Three Cherry Trees Lane, refused to stop for officers and rammed one of the police cars before racing to the junction exit.

He continued to evade police by leaving and rejoining the dual carriageway - reaching speeds of 90mph and narrowly avoided hitting another car when he swerved across the carriageway.

The car went off road to avoid being stopped. Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

The car finally came to a stop after crashing into a HGV as he re-entered the A14 at junction 43 at Bury St Edmunds. Fortunately, the driver of the HGV was not injured.

The occupants of the car got out the car and fled the scene on foot.

Officers conducted a search of the area but the men were not located. However, a member of the public informed police at around 9pm that a group of men were seen in the woods and got picked up by a white Ford Transit van.

The van was located on the A11 in Cambridgeshire by Suffolk Police, who continued to follow it into Hertfordshire and bought it to a stop on the A10 in Buntingford with support from another police vehicle.

Four individuals who were driving in the Ford Transit van were arrested, with McDonagh identified by one of the police officers as the driver of the Nissan Primera.

All four were bought back to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre and McDonagh was charged the following day.

A 19-year-old man from Watford, an 18-year-old man from East London and a 17-year-old boy from Hemel Hempstead were all arrested on suspicion of theft from a shop and released on bail, which they are next due to answer on Wednesday, November 6.

The arrest relates to the theft of high-value goods from retails outlets in Sudbury on August 6, including Sainsbury's in Cornard Road and Halfords in Northern Road

After pleading guilty to dangerous driving, driving without insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, McDonagh appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on September 24 where he was given a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also disqualified from driving for 12-months and will have to take an extended retest; given a 20-week curfew order; 120 hours of unpaid work; a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement; and ordered to pay a £149 victim surcharge and £150 costs.

Inspector Gary Miller, of the Roads and Armed Policing Team, and who was one of the officers that took part in the pursuit, said: “I witnessed Tommy McDonagh’s reckless actions with my own eyes and to drive in the manner he did and at the speeds he reached, it is a miracle that no one was seriously injured.

“McDonagh showed complete disregard for the lives of others, and prior to the collision the lorry, he had almost struck a car in an identical manoeuvre.

“It always astounds me that rather than stopping for police when requested, some people place more emphasis on evading officers than thinking about the serious harm they could cause themselves and other road users.

“Ultimately - as proven here and in the majority of cases - it is usually to no avail. We caught-up with McDonagh, charged him and put him before the courts, so his dangerous actions in risking so many lives were all for nothing.”