Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Sunday, 16 November 2008

Three die in police pursuit crash

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Three die in police pursuit crash

Three people were killed when their car crashed into a garden wall during a police pursuit in Greater Manchester.

A fourth person in the Vauxhall Vectra was badly injured in the crash, which happened in Middleton Road, Chadderton, near Oldham, in the early hours.

A police patrol stopped the car after it ran a red light in Oldham, before starting a pursuit when the driver drove off at high speed.

Police said the car went out of control and overturned about two minutes later.

Two men and one woman were killed in the crash. Another woman was seriously injured and is said to be in a critical condition in hospital.

Middleton Road, at its junctions with Broadway and Hunt Lane, has been closed for investigations into the crash.

Eyewitnesses describe the moment three people were killed in a car crash in Oldham

On Sunday, a number of police officers remained at the scene, about two miles away from Oldham town centre where the pursuit began.

Forensic science officers also examined the overturned wreckage, which was taken away by a recovery vehicle at about 1000 GMT.

Matthew Tipton, 28, lives near the crash scene and said he was woken by police sirens, followed by what sounded like a "really loud explosion".

"To be honest, it sounded like a bomb was going off," he told the BBC.

"They must have been going at some speed because the rise in the road at the junction is bad enough when you're going at normal speed."

The front garden wall on an end-of-terrace house was destroyed by the crash. The walls of two neighbouring properties were also damaged.

Scene of crash
Gareth Burns said the crash "shook the whole house"

The main impact was at the home of Gareth Burns, 33, who lives in Middleton Road with his wife, Vicki, also 33, and their two young children.

He said: "The police sirens woke my wife and she woke me up. Seconds later we heard a crash and the whole house shook.

"There is a dip in the road at the junction with Broadway and you can feel it when you're doing 30mph. If you were doing excessive speed you would probably go airborne."

Mr Burns said the bay window of his house had been dislodged and his front garden had been destroyed.

His next door neighbour and father-in-law, Jimmy Gray, 54, said it was about the sixth crash on the road in the last two years.

He said he came outside to find the wreckage "smoking and smouldering".

"I thought to myself, 'they're not going to be alive', but the police told me one of them survived. She is very lucky if she comes through this."

Considerable speed

Speaking at the scene, Supt Alan Greene said the victims appeared to be "quite young" in age and were believed to be from the local area.

Describing events leading up to the crash, the superintendent said the car had initially stopped for the patrol car but then sped off.

"The officer pursued it but the vehicle was going at a considerable speed and was getting away from the officer," said Mr Greene.

"The pursuit was for less than two minutes and the vehicle was very determined to get away.

"The police officer by the time of the impact was a considerable distance back because the vehicle had been going at such speed."

The matter has been referred to the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), because of the police involvement.

Greater Manchester Police's Professional Standards Branch has also been made aware of the crash.



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