'It was horrible, absolutely horrible' - Woman driver pursued by van flashing imitation police lights
A woman has been left terrified after a van shining imitation police lights tried to pull her over during a 20-minute journey that put herself and a number of other drivers in danger of crashing.
The 25-year-old had been driving from east Belfast to her father's house in Newtownards when she was followed by a white van with "makeshift" police lights.
The woman, who lives in Lisburn but declined to be identified, is now warning other motorists, especially women, to avoid stopping for anything other than a marked police car.
She said that since posting details of the harrowing encounter on social media, three other people told her they had been subjected to similar incidents on Sunday.
The police have confirmed they are investigating the young woman's complaints but have yet to receive similar accounts. The woman told the Belfast Telegraph how her ordeal began at around 4.30pm on Sunday when a driver she described as a "psycho" began to drive very erratically around her.
She said the driver, who had a male passenger with him, drove in front of her, sped up past her cutting her off and continued to overtake and undertake her - a number of times in the path of oncoming traffic - between Tillysburn junction and Newtownards until she arrived sobbing and shaking at the door of her father's home in the West Winds estate.
She said the white van became most erratic - and dangerous to herself and other road users - as she drove through Dundonald and on toward the dual carriageway through to Newtownards.
She said the van was so close she couldn't get the vehicle's registration number.
"The van was right up on the bonnet of my car so that I couldn't see the number," she said.
"And I was too busy really trying not to crash into the car in front of me to get all of it."
The woman said she believed it was a Northern Ireland number plate.
She said initially she thought the van driver, whose face she never saw, had merely been in a hurry.
"I didn't know what his intentions were but at first I thought maybe he was just in a rush to get past me but by the time I got to Dundonald I realised he was trying to get me to pull over," she said.
"I was thinking back over it but I definitely didn't do anything to annoy him by my driving."
She revealed that other road users also vented their anger by beeping their horns at the van.
The young woman said the fake police lights were turned on just a mile or so from her father's house.
"When I was passing Ards Shopping Centre he flashed on these lights that were inside the headlights, about six inches in from them, almost like an unmarked police car," she said.
"They were white lights, not blue like a police car but they flashed in the sequence of a police car."
She said she finally pulled up to her father's house, with the van still in pursuit, sobbing and shaking with fear.
"When I got to my dad's he did the quickest U-turn I've ever seen," she said.
"I told my dad and he ran out to the car but he was just gone.
"It was very frightening for me. It was horrible, absolutely horrible."
Chief Inspector Derek McCamley yesterday urged motorists to report any similar incidents to police. Warning people not to interact with any vehicle that acts in this manner, he said: "If a driver finds themselves in similar circumstances, they should continue driving until they get to a police station to report the incident, or a well-lit and populated area where they can stop safely to call 999."