Gardaí nab court escapee after wrong-way chase

A man who escaped from custody in Roscommon Courthouse on Tuesday, and drove away in his car with a garda on the bonnet, before driving through a funeral, a level crossing, and eventually the wrong way up the motorway in Athlone before being apprehended, will appear in Harristown District Court in Castlerea today (July 22 ).

Ovidio Rostas (21 ), originally from Romania but with an address in Tallaght, was charged with having false documents in his possession and having taken a number of driving tests under false names.

With 10 previous convictions, he was sentenced by Judge Geoffrey Browne to 18 months imprisonment, to be deported to his native Romania afterwards, but he escaped as he was being taken into custody in the adjacent Garda station by driving away in his own car which was parked nearby.

A garda who attempted to stop him was carried a considerable distance on the bonnet of his car but she wasn’t injured. He then drove through a funeral cortege in Roscommon, before making his way out the Athlone road.

A short time later, Rostas smashed through the railway crossing at Knockcroghery, forcing staff to manually operate the crossing until repairs were made. The train service from Athlone to Westport was not affected and there were no trains on the crossing at the time.

On arriving in Athlone, Rostas then went down the wrong side of the M6 motorway in the direction of Ballinasloe, narrowly avoiding oncoming cars that were travelling eastbound. He then turned the vehicle around and drove eastwards, and was stopped near the Cavan-Ballymahon exit, where he then attempted to escape on foot, but was arrested near the Regional Sports Centre.

Rostas reappeared at Roscommon District Court later that afternoon and was remanded in custody to appear at Harristown District Court in Castlerea today, Friday.


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