'Hearts in mouths' moment police faced down dangerous driver
Four Suffolk police officers have been commended for bringing an end to the journey of a dangerous driver on the wrong carriageway of the A14.
Two armed response officers sat in darkness, waiting for the car as it headed west on the eastbound carriageway near Haughley in the early hours of Boxing Day.
The pair were responding to reports of a Volvo S40 travelling the wrong way, at up to 70mph.
After using ‘tactical contact’ to block its path and prevent an encounter with oncoming traffic, officers found Remigijus Katinas behind the wheel, smelling of alcohol and unable to stand up straight when ordered from the car – which had two torn tyres and damage all along one side, Suffolk Magistrates’ Court heard.
All of the officers involved in stopping the 46-year-old’s perilous journey have been put forward for a chief constable’s commendation.
Superintendent Matthew Rose, head of specialist operations for Norfolk and Suffolk, called their actions heroic.
“An initial call reported a car leaving the Beacon Hill service station at junction 51 and travelling the wrong way onto the roundabout,” he said.
“We then received calls about a vehicle travelling the wrong way along the carriageway.”
Supt Rose said officers from the roads and armed policing team were called to the A14 from Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket.
“The vehicle was tracked and then intercepted by officers who made deliberate contact in a BMW response vehicle,” he added.
“We had another roads police officer behind, holding traffic, but the vehicle had to be stopped with tactical contact to protect the public. A fourth officer was in the opposite carriageway, giving commentary.
“Thankfully, it’s rare for someone to enter a carriageway in the wrong direction and carry on for that sort of distance without realising their mistake.”
Supt Rose was alarmed to see video of Katinas “barely able to stand” as he was led from the car.
“I imagine the officers’ hearts were in their mouths knowing that, out of the darkness, a car was approaching,” he said.
“Although the collision happened at a slow speed, initial reports suggested the car was travelling at up to 70mph.”
Katinas, of Mingay Road, Thetford, admitted dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court in December.
He now faces sentencing at crown court.