Current Affairs
FOLLOW: What happened step by step in the Luqa hit and run

A Police officer from the Traffic Section sustained grievous injuries and is in danger of dying after being run over at Luqa by a youth who did not stop. The youth was arrested a short while later.

In the incident which took place this morning, the car was being driven by a youth who did not possess a driving licence as he is under age. The youth drove the vehicle for a distance of about four hundred metres, with the policeman who had been knocked down now on the car, and later dragged along its side until he ended up on the ground just before the entrance to the industrial zone.

An action by a Traffic policeman performing his duty when he spotted a youth driving a car and stopped him on suspicion that he did not have a licence, ended up becoming a very nasty incident.

Constable Simon Schembri had been stationed near the roundabout in Qormi Road, Luqa, close to the Lidl establishment. Shortly after 7.30 a.m. he stopped a youth driving a Mercedes car and asked for an identification document.

The youth allegedly did not obey the officer’s orders, and knocked him down. The officer ended up on the car bonnet, with the driver continuing to drive down in the direction of Qormi. A person who witnessed the incident told Television Malta that the officer slipped down to the lower part of the car which was still being driven, with the officer attached to the underpart and dragged along the ground.

From exclusive footage acquired by Television Malta, opposite the Luqa industrial zone the Mercedes appears to go into a skid and ends up facing the other way. At this point the officer did not remain attached to the car. The youth drove the car into the industrial zone. A few minutes later the youth came out from the same secondary road and drove close to where the Police officer was still lying on the ground. At that point people were gathering round to offer assistance. The youth stopped and reversed fast along the same road into the industrial zone.

From there the youth continued to drive the vehicle until he hit a wall in Triq Hal Farrug, just before one enters the Ta’ Kandja zone. The youth then abandoned the car and ran off across the fields. He was caught by Police officers and arrested. The youth was identified as Liam Debono, a 17-year-old from Tarxien. Sources said he is known to the Police. Drug-related items were found in the car.

An ambulance was summoned and transferred the officer to Mater Dei hospital. Constable Simon Schembri, a father of three children, was operated on immediately. His condition is critical. He lost part of his hand and is in the Intensive Care Unit under continuous observation, because of possible complications as a result of his serious injuries.

Police investigations are ongoing. The Duty Magistrate is conducting an inquiry with the assistance of a number of experts. The road from Luqa to Qormi and part of Hal Farrug Road were kept closed to traffic for a considerable period.

The President, the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader expressed solidarity with the officer and his family, as did the two unions representing the members of the Police Corps. Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia ondemned the incident which he said shows how delicate Police work is, and appealed for the public’s respect towards members of the disciplinary corps. Dr Farrugia added that he had spoken with the Commissioner of Police, and they will be providing all necessary assistance to the family of constable Schembri both now and in the future.

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