A vehicle that turned back from a late night garda checkpoint in Co Clare crashed into the front garden of a house before its occupants fled the scene.
At around 11.30pm on Monday night, a Mitsubishi Pajero turned around and sped away from gardaí who had been operating a checkpoint near the village of Quin.
The driver switched off the vehicles lights in an effort to avoid detection however gardaí spotted the vehicle and radioed for assistance prompting a massive search of the area.
Garda marked and unmarked vehicles converged on the area from Ennis and Shannon.
While gardaí were not pursuing the vehicle at the time, a short time later they received reports of a vehicle crashing and overturning in the garden of a house at Manor View in Quin.
Neighbours ran from their homes in their nightclothes when they heard a loud crashing noise. Eye witnesses reported that four people manage to get out of the mangled vehicle and ran from the scene.
The 4×4 is understood to have lost control before smashing into a stone pillar and overturning into the garden narrowly missing two cars int he driveway.
The occupants of the house found the 4×4 in their front garden while locals also emerged from their homes to see what had happened.
Three units of the fire brigade Ennis along with gardaí from Shannon and Ennis raced to the scene. Two ambulances and a rapid response advanced paramedic vehicle were also sent to the incident however their services were not required.
One local man said: “It’s mad stuff altogether. It’s not the type of thing you’d see in a place like Quin. I was walking up from the village and the sky was lit up. When I got around the corner I nothing but blue lights and thought my own house was on fire. Then I saw the jeep in the garden.”
Gardaí collected an amount of evidence from the scene including several 5-gallon drums partially filled with what’s believed to be kerosene.
Gardaí have confirmed they are still searching for the occupants of the vehicle while their investigation into the matter is continuing.
The investigation will try to establish whether any diesel or home heating oil had been taken from homes of businesses in the area and if the incidents are connected.
The 4×4 was removed from the scene for a technical examination.