By Andria Kades
A 32-year-old man from Nicosia is being looked after in the Athalassa mental health unit after stealing a taxi from a hotel on Sunday afternoon and damaging 18 cars and lightly injuring 11 people in a police chase which lasted from Ipsonas to Moni.
According to the police, the man had asked the taxi driver outside a hotel in Kouklia to take him to Nicosia but the taxi driver refused.
While the taxi driver left his cab to carry the luggage of a tourist who had just got out, the 32-year-old got in and drove off.
At about 5pm, the taxi driver called the police telling them a man had just stolen his car and was driving on the old Paphos-Limassol road.
Once on the highway he was spotted by a police patrol car near Ipsonas village, which gave chase. In his attempt to get away from the police car the suspect hit the cars that were in front of him, but caused no serious injuries.
He was signalled to stop several times but continued to drive dangerously in different parts of Limassol. At great speed he got back on the Paphos-Limassol motorway and afterwards on the Limassol – Nicosia motorway, heading to the capital.
Just off Moni village, he crashed into a car that had a man, 38, woman, 32 and an 18-month old child inside. The vehicle was flipped upside down landing in a ditch. They were taken to Limassol general hospital but had no serious injuries.
His own vehicle also crashed into the ditch where he was then arrested.
Andreas Demetriou, who was driving on the motorway with his wife, said he realised something was wrong when there was heavy traffic for about four to five km and they were barely moving for about half an hour.
“We thought something very serious had happened, especially as an ambulance blazed past us on the right and a police car on the left. And then we saw a couple of cars parked on the shoulder of the road, with only minor bumps – but the traffic jam went on ahead of us. So that wasn’t it.”
“When we came up to the scene of the crash, my wife was so terrified by the expectation of what she was about to see that she looked away.”
“There was a car flipped in the ditch, you could only see its wheels and belly, and another one had rammed its nose into the ditch, apparently so hard that you could only see its back half. It looked horrible.”
The 32-year-old man was taken to Limassol General Hospital where he received first aid and was then examined by a psychologist, who recommended he be taken to Athalassa where he will remain until September 18.
According to police, the man has mental health problems and was not drunk at the time.
A total of 11 people were injured and were treated at hospitals and clinics. They were discharged after receiving first aid.
By Andria Kades