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September 15, 2010

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Maniac driver caught, charged

A MAN who drove like a maniac in downtown Jing'an District on the night of September 6 in a bid to shake off a traffic police officer who was bent over the hood of his car was arrested yesterday and charged with attempted murder.

The police officer was thrown to the ground when the suspect braked suddenly near the intersection of Yan'an Road W. and Nanjing Road W. after driving for 1 1/2 kilometers.

Police told Shanghai Daily that the 38-year-old officer's knees were completely smashed and he had a broken arm. He will need a knee replacement surgery to walk again.

The driver, identified by his surname Ren, was caught five hours after the incident. He was allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol and wanted to avoid a check by traffic police.

Ren, a local company owner, was driving a Cadillac sports utility vehicle back home at around 11pm on September 6, when, on Yan'an Road M. near Maoming Road, he spotted traffic police inspecting passing vehicles. Afraid he would be caught for drunk driving, Ren backed his car and tried to make his escape.

He caught the eye of a police officer surnamed Zhang, who told him to stop. But Ren suddenly charged towards the officer who was standing at the head of his car. Zhang, unable to react in any other way, was forced to bend over the hood and hold on to the windscreen wipers tightly, Jing'an District prosecutors said.

The suspect then drove like a maniac along Yan'an Road, swerving wildly in trying to throw off the officer. The scene was straight from gangster movies, according to two students of the Shanghai Theater Academy, who happened to witness the scene.

After Zhang was thrown to the ground, the two students helped him record the car's plate number and called for help using the officer's intercom.

Police found the Cadillac early next morning, after looking at surveillance tapes. All the evidence, including prints left by the officer on the windscreen and the suspect's fingerprints in the car, was intact.

Though Ren denied driving the car, the injured officer nailed him since they had been "face to face" for a long time when officer was on the car's hood.

"I will never forget his face for the rest of my life," Zhang said.


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