A MOTORIST who is believed to have collided with an off-duty County Limerick Garda Inspector, seriously injuring him, drove away in panic with one of the injured man’s feet wedged in their car.
The injured cyclist, named locally as Niall Flood from Dromcollogher, was found seriously injured on the R522, between Dromcollogher and Feoghanagh, near Newcastle West, at around 7.15pm last night.
Gardaí are working on a theory that the motorist panicked after the collision, left the scene, and drove to a house where Mr Flood’s foot was found stuck in the car after it had been amputated in the collision impact.
Gardaí were alerted and a woman in her 20s was arrested as part of the Garda probe into the “hit and run” collision.
Mr Flood, a Garda Inspector stationed at Henry Street, Limerick City and Newcastle West, was airlifted from the scene by the Irish Community Air Ambulance to Cork University Hospital where he was in a serous but stable condition, Friday.
The rapid response of his Garda colleagues, emergency first responders, was credited with saving his life.
Mr Flood’s foot was severed just below the shinbone and above the ankle. He sustained other multiple injuries.
Reliable sources said the rapid response of Mr Flood’s Garda colleagues and emergency first responders was instrumental in his life being saved.
It’s understood emergency responders placed a tourniquet on his injured leg to stem the blood flow and kept him conscious at the side of the road.
“He spoke to the guys who came on scene and the first thing he said to them was ‘is my leg gone. He was talking and in severe pain. He’s a lucky man to be alive,” one witness said.
A spokesman for the Irish Community Air Ambulance said it was tasked to the incident at 7.19pm and “landed on scene 12 minutes later and transferred the patient to CUH in under 15 minutes”.
Newcastle West Fine Gael Councillor Liam Galvin paid tribute to Insp Flood who he described as an “excellent Garda”.
“I’ve known Niall a long time. He is an excellent Garda. It’s just heartbreaking, because Niall is an absolute gentleman and has always had the community at heart. I can’t get it out of my head all day, my heart is breaking for the man.
“He is one of the good guys, and our thoughts are with him and his wife. He had big ideas and plans for policing in Newcastle West and it is just a crying shame what has happened and I just hope he will get well.
“I hope there is a way that he can come back into the Garda uniform in some capacity, because he is going to be a dreadful loss to the force If he has to retire, it’s just heartbreaking.
“Niall’s love, first of all is his wife, of course, but his next passions were work and his bike, he just loved cycling, and it is just a bloody pity what happened.
“The injuries, by all accounts, are horrific, and I just want to wish him well. I made a few phone calls to his colleagues and they are devastated.
“I know him through the local Joint Policing Committee. He’s very much involved in greyhounds, and so is his father-in-law. He is into sports, but most of all he is a community man”
“I always found him a gentleman. He was one of these guys that wanted to be in the police force for the good of the community. It’s such a pity because Newcastle West needs a guy like Niall Flood — that’s the bottom line.”