Man accused of crashing stolen van into bus in Belfast city center gets bail

A man accused of crashing a stolen van into a bus as police tried to stop him has no recollection of what happened, the High Court has heard.

Amon McTaggart, 31, was allegedly behind the wheel when the vehicle collided with a double-decker bus in Belfast city center last week.

At one point, the Citroen sped off with a PSNI officer holding on to an open door, prosecutors said.

McTaggart, of Tamneymore Park in Derry, faces charges of aggravated carjacking, driving unfit, failing to stop and driving recklessly.

Prosecutor Connel Trainor said PSNI received two 999 calls on May 13, one about a stolen van and another about a suspected drunk driver in the Great Victoria Street area.

Police saw and approached the Citroen while it was in traffic behind a bus.

An officer opened the passenger door and made eye contact with McTaggart, who then accelerated and pushed him forward, it was claimed.

“Police heard a loud bang and the Translink bus stopped because the van had collided with it,” Trainor said.

McTaggart was arrested at the scene, but during attempts to obtain a preliminary breath sample, he allegedly told officers, “I’ll see you in court.”

During subsequent interviews, he accepted responsibility and offered to pay for any damages, according to the prosecution.

Trainor added: “He said he didn’t remember what happened.”

Lara Smyth, a defense attorney, told the court that her client is ashamed of her behavior.

“Despite his lack of memory…he has been offered remorse and to make whatever amends he can,” he added.

Judge Humphreys noted that much more serious harm could have been done.

But in granting McTaggart bail under strict conditions, the judge ordered: “You must not travel in any private vehicle unless required for the purpose of your employment.”

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