A dramatic car chase Thursday night culminated in Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) personnel having to fire on a vehicle's tyres, in order to get it to stop. The vehicle had been travelling at speed, counter to the flow of traffic on a major route out of Tallinn.
At around 11 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, a PPA car gave chase to a silver Mercedez-Benz which failed to pull over when requested, on Pärnu maantee, in the Nõmme district of Tallinn.
Pulling away from the PPA on Järvevana tee, in the direction of Tartu maantee, the Mercedes' high speed, combined with the wet weather, repeatedly endangered other road users.
In a bizarre turn of events, the PPA caught up with the miscreants on Tartu maantee, with the Mercedes now stationery and parked, facing the traffic flow.
The driver opted to reverse at speed, doing a reverse handbreak turn and then resuming the chase, by then joined by a PPA van. Attempting to box the Mercedes in against the highway's central reservation had the effect of shepherding it on to the opposing carriageway, which the driver continued to drive up at, at speed and forcing oncoming cars drving in the right direction to get out of the way.
In order to bring this potentially lethal situation to a swift end, the PPA fired a round, hitting the car's front-right tire. However, even this seemed to have little effect, other than resulting in the driver speeding up further, by now reaching 200 km/h on the wrong side of the carriageway, the PPA said.
Eventually, the driver's luck and that of his passenger ran out, after turning back towards Tallinn, at the Patika viaduct. The front of the Mercedes had caught fire by this stage, forcing the driver to slow down and then stop, where he was boxed in by PPA personnel. The whole chase lasted around half an hour (see video).
The PPA detained two men, aged 29 and 53, neither of whom had a valid driver's license. Both men were reportedly sober, though both had also been repeatedly disqualified from driving in the past.
Rescue Board (Päästeamet) personnel also had to attend the scene to extinguish the fiercely-burning Mercedes, which partly blocked the highway over night.
The pair were taken to a PPA station and criminal proceedings have been launched, under the section of the criminal code dealing with systematic driving without a license, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.
No other drivers were reportedly harmed.
Editor: Andrew Whyte