Gardaí investigating the deaths of three men in a crash on the N7 in Co Dublin believe they were trying to evade officers at the time and deliberately drove the wrong way down the road in the hope they would not be pursued.
The Irish Times reports that gardaí believe they know who the men were, although they have not been formally identified.
As the men’s car was damaged by fire while the three deceased were inside, the identification process may take several days.
Gardaí suspect the victims were aged in their 20s and 30s and were from Tallaght, west Dublin. They believe they had amassed a very significant number of convictions during their lives.
Sources said while gardaí very strongly believed they know who was in the car, they must wait for the formal identification process, including DNA analysis, before they can be certain.
Gardaí said the crash happened at about 11.40pm on the N7 at Rathcoole on Wednesday. The car the three deceased men were in, a 2006 BMW 3 series, was driving in the wrong direction on the inbound carriageway when it was involved in a head-on collision with a lorry.
The three occupants of the car were killed as a result of the collision and their car going on fire at the scene.
The driver of the lorry was taken to University Hospital Tallaght for treatment for injuries that are said to be serious but not life-threatening.
Gardaí are believed to have begun a pursuit of the men’s BMW in the Tallaght area prior to the collision, according to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc).
Gardaí said they had interacted with the car before the crash but they were not pursuing the car when it crashed.
It is understood gardaí saw the men in their car driving erratically late on Wednesday night, with the men also spotting the Garda car and fleeing.
While gardaí followed the BMW carrying the three men, they did not pursue it the wrong way down the N7.
It was decided the Garda helicopter would instead track the men’s vehicle from above. But before that monitoring could begin, the men’s car crashed into the oncoming lorry.
A Garda superintendent referred the matter to Gsoc, which is obliged to investigate any incident involving the death of a person, or injury caused to a person, at or around the time they had any form of contact or interaction with Garda members.
Meanwhile, gardaí are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information in relation to the incident to contact them.