A veteran police officer was run down by a motorist fleeing from a routine police control post on the E-18 highway near Grimstad during the night. He died later at a hospital in Arendal, plunging the country’s state police force and justice ministry into mourning.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Thursday that state police director Ingelin Killengren was on her way to Grimstad to offer her support, while Justice Minister Knut Storberget expressed deep sorrow over the loss of a police officer on duty.
The victim was a 48-year-old member of the force who had been sent out from the Grimstad Police Station to help apprehend a motorist who had refused to stop at a police control post and sped off. The officer was in the process of spreading a spike mat on the highway, aimed at puncturing the speedster’s tires, when the fleeing motorist ran him down and kept driving.
His colleagues, who witnessed the collision, immediately started first aid until an ambulance and air ambulance arrived on the scene and he was rushed to hospital, where he died a few hours later.
The suspect, a 27-year-old man from Arendal with a lengthy criminal record, was arrested about an hour after he ran down the policeman, when the car he was driving got stuck in a snowbank. He remained in custody Thursday at the police station in Grimstad, charged with negligent homicide.
“This is a terrible tragedy,” said Arne Johannessen, leader of the police officers’ union in Norway. “This shows that the police have a dangerous job.”
The officer leaves a wife and three children, all of whom were being assisted by a crisis team as were the officer’s colleagues.