TWO teenagers tragically lost their lives in a devastating crash that instigated widespread rioting in Cardiff, according to local authorities. The incident, described as a “serious road traffic collision” coupled with scenes of violent disorder, unfolded in the Ely area of the city on Monday night.
South Wales Police have launched an investigation into the incident, aiming to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the collision and subsequent outbreaks of violence.
Alun Michael, the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, addressed the speculation surrounding a potential police chase, clarifying that such rumors were unfounded.
According to Michael, the available information suggests that the collision involved two teenagers on an off-road bike or scooter, and it was not the result of a police pursuit. He emphasized that the incident was a tragic road traffic accident.
In the aftermath of the crash, riots erupted at the crash site, prompting law enforcement officers to be dispatched to the area shortly after 6 pm. The chaos escalated as rioters set fire to at least two cars and launched various projectiles, including fireworks, at police officers. The tense situation compelled a helicopter to hover overhead, monitoring the unrest from above.
This heartbreaking incident has left the community in shock and mourning, as two young lives were cut short in a terrible tragedy. Authorities are determined to uncover the facts surrounding the crash and restore calm to the affected area, a local councillor said.
In a distressing turn of events, rioters mistakenly targeted an individual whom they believed to be an undercover officer, as confirmed by a senior officer present at the scene. This incident occurred amidst heightened tensions, leading to a notable police presence, including mounted officers on horseback, outside the Ely police station in the early hours of Tuesday.
Around 3 am, the rioters proceeded down Highmead Road in Ely, with police officers attempting to disperse the crowd. Despite law enforcement’s efforts, the rioters persisted in launching projectiles and setting cars ablaze.
Speaking on behalf of the police, Mr. Michael, the police and crime commissioner, made it clear that those responsible for the violence will be held accountable for their actions. The priority now lies in investigating the circumstances surrounding the initial collision and the subsequent distressing scenes that unfolded.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Travis expressed deep concern over the multitude of distress calls received from frightened residents. The large group’s intent to engage in criminal activity and disrupt the peace was utterly unacceptable. Acts of violence towards emergency services, damage to property, and destruction of vehicles must not be tolerated.
South Wales Polcie said it has already made arrests in connection with the disorder, and further arrests are expected to follow. An increased police presence will be maintained throughout the week and into the weekend to ensure public safety and order.
This regrettable incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of preserving peace within our communities, while also emphasising the need for a thorough investigation to uncover the truth behind the collision and the subsequent disturbances.
John Urquhart, general secretary of the UK Harmony Party, who lives in the area, claimed a lack of communication from police to the community may have led to the escalation.
“They showed nothing but disdain for the community and acted like we didn’t deserve to know what happened on our own doorstep,” he said.
He also said: “The vast majority of people who were stood in that street were stood there because they wanted to know what would happen next. There were a very small number of people actually doing any sort of violence.”
Chaos erupted on Highmead Road last night as rioters wreaked havoc, culminating in the burning of a Ford Focus owned by Jane Palmer. The disturbing scene unfolded before the eyes of Ms Palmer and her family, who watched helplessly from their window as their vehicle was set ablaze.
“I’m disabled, so now I’m trapped without my car,” Ms Palmer lamented, her voice filled with frustration. “Why are they doing this? It’s just silly now.”
Desperate to salvage their cherished possession, the family attempted to douse the flames with water from their garden hose. Their efforts, however, were in vain as the situation escalated rapidly.
South Wales Police swiftly responded to the unfolding chaos, with a “large number of officers working to manage the collision, but also to de-escalate ongoing disorder at the scene,” as announced at 8.21pm. Urging those involved to disperse immediately, the authorities implored local residents to steer clear of the area until a safe resolution could be achieved.
As the night wore on, the situation remained tense, with a “large police presence” continuing to occupy the vicinity until 1.10am. Reports confirmed that multiple vehicles had fallen victim to arson, leading to the apprehension of several individuals.
Expressing exasperation, a Highmead Road resident, who requested anonymity, declared, “Enough is enough now. This has gone beyond. When people are making fun of what’s happening on social media, it’s crossed a line. This is our neighborhood, and those doing this are just kids. It needs to stop.”
Another resident, Connor, echoed the sentiment, acknowledging the extraordinary events that transpired. “It has been a mad night. This is not the norm around here, but people are pretty anti-police, and that’s reflected on both sides, not that that’s my opinion. Although we’ve been afflicted by this riot, I still understand it. When people have enough, this is what happens.”
The upheaval saw rioters igniting rubbish and wheelie bins, creating a perilous environment as they were pushed through the streets by armoured police, adding to the chaos and destruction.
South Wales Police continue their investigations into the incident, aiming to restore peace and security to Highmead Road and its surrounding areas. With residents left grappling with the aftermath and questioning the motives behind such acts, the community yearns for an end to this tumultuous chapter in their lives.