Three men who died in a crash in Dublin were believed to have been fleeing police just moments before they veered into a lorry while driving on the wrong side of the road.
It has been revealed that the BMW 3 Series they were driving in is believed to have been involved in a number of burglaries in recent weeks.
Named locally as Graham Taylor, 31, Carl Freeman, 26, and Dean Maguire, 29, they had more than 200 convictions between them.
Police officers noticed the car they were in was driving erratically in Cheeerstown, Dublin, on on Wednesday, July 7.
The car then sped off from police and drove onto the wrong side of the road.
Just minutes later, at around 11.40pm, the BMW crashed into a truck near the Rathcoole exit and burst into flames.
The three men were killed and the driver of the truck, a man in his 40s, was taken to Tallaght University Hospital where he is being treated for serious but non-life threatening injuries.
Police said “This was a move to drive away from gardai down the wrong side of the road is something they have done before.
And on previous occasions, it has worked for the gang.
“The sheer recklessness of it was shown in this incident.
They have died as a result.
As the BMW had been pursued before the crash, the Garda Ombudsman was notified and will conduct an investigation.
Last night Freeman’s girlfriend posted a tribute on social media, she said: “I can’t believe I’m even writing this with the heaviest heart please just someone slap me this is all a nightmare there is no such thing as god.
Mayor of South Dublin County Council Peter Kavanagh said the incident was news “no one wants to wake up to”.
He added: “It’s obviously a terrible tragedy, it’s terrible for the families of those involved and my thoughts are with them at this moment.”
A Garda spokesman said: “Gardai are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.
“In particular, any witnesses who may have seen a dark blue BMW 3 Series vehicle, registration 06-D-47768, in the areas of Belgard, Citywest or the N7 between 11.15pm and 12am are asked to come forward.
Funeral of Dean Mcguire
Gardaí have started investigation after social media footage emerged of vehicles, including a hearse believed to be carrying one of the victims of the recent crash on the N7, engaging in “dangerous and erratic driving” in Dublin on Wednesday.
Dean, Carl and Graham all from Tallaght, died after crashing into an oncoming truck while driving the wrong way down the N7 in Co Dublin earlier this month.
The three men had a number of previous convictions.
The funeral of Mr Maguire took place on Friday morning.
The video shows a number of vehicles, including a hearse understood to be carrying the remains of Mr Maguire, breaking a red light while driving through the Old Naas Road and the Crumlin area of south Dublin on Wednesday afternoon.
Gardaí said they are investigating an incident of dangerous driving “which occurred on and around the Old Naas Road and Crumlin areas of Dublin” on Wednesday afternoon.
“Crumlin gardaí on patrol observed a number of vehicles engaged in dangerous and erratic driving,” a Garda spokesman said.
“A managed containment operation was commenced and was subsequently stood down when the vehicles failed to stop. Enquiries are ongoing.”
The funeral directors have been contacted for comment.