Vision has emerged of the circumstances around Friday's bizarre, dramatic prison break in which a Corrections vehicle was rammed in suburban Manuka surrounded by traffic, and an inmate escaped in a stolen Jeep.
It was around 4.10pm on Friday when Dinny McGettigan, from Ngunnawal, had the dashcam running on his Fiat Fremont SUV as he was driving east on Canberra Avenue on his way to the gym at Fyshwick.
"There were a couple of cars ahead of me and the first unusual thing I noticed was two cars coming towards me, one after the other, driving on the grass median strip on the wrong side of Canberra Avenue," he said.
"At first I thought it might have been a police chase of some kind, but then when I saw the two cars involved were a Camry and Jeep, then it looked more like some sort of road rage incident."
The dashcam vision shows the road busy with afternoon traffic. As Mr McGettigan's car closes in on the intersection, the Camry swerves right, directly in front of two east-bound vehicles, into Manuka Circle with the white Jeep in hot pursuit.
"The two cars in front of me jammed on their brakes and I then saw the Jeep ramming the hell out of the Camry across the intersection," he said.
He, like many other onlookers and drivers, were totally unaware that a prison escape was unfolding right in front of them. The white Toyota Camry was an ACT Corrections vehicle carrying three officers and a prisoner, later identified as Kane Quinn.
The Camry was carrying the prisoner to Woden Hospital, but ACT Corrections will not reveal the circumstances in which the Camry deviated from its most direct route and ended up on Canberra Avenue.
The Jeep had clearly followed the Camry for some period leading up to the intersection, possibly hitting it along the way, which may explain how the Camry emerged on the Canberra Avenue median strip.
As the Camry rounded the corner the Jeep rammed it several times. It is now alleged that the vehicle was driven by 28-year-old Lila Walto, of Hackett, who faces three counts of assaulting a front-line community service provider and one count each of dangerous driving, driving while suspended, stealing a car, crashing and not giving details to the other driver and damage property.
Mr McGettigan turned left into Manuka Circle and the dashcam captured the Jeep ramming the Camry repeatedly, and so hard that the bootlid flew open.
"At this stage, I'm still thinking it's a road rage incident. I hung back a bit and wanted to get myself in a position that I could intervene if necessary," he said.
Curiously, the Jeep stopped momentarily on Manuka Circle and a female passenger stepped out onto the footpath, quickly pulling a black shield over her face and leaving on foot.
"I couldn't figure out what was going on there; whether the two people in the car had had a barney and she just wanted out of the car," he said.
The Jeep then kept ramming the Camry, peeling off part of the bumper as the sedan tried to get away.
The danger and desperation of the situation was now apparent as the Jeep drove up on the grass verge to circle the Toyota and attempt to cut it off as it limped right up Oxley Street toward Green Square.
The Jeep circled back and followed as the Camry pulled into an apartment complex on Oxley Street.
It is unclear of what transpired at this point but a man, allegedly the prisoner still in handcuffs, escaped the Camry, and climbed into the Jeep. One officer opened a rear door of the Jeep to remonstrate with the driver but then backed off quickly as the Jeep driver accelerated on the grass verge back down Oxley St, narrowly missing the rear of Mr McGettigan's vehicle.
These extraordinary scenes in Manuka triggered a massive police search for Kane Quinn and his accomplices.
The stolen Jeep was later found burnt out in nearby Forrest where the pair had transferred into another vehicle.
Police scoured the ACT for the escapee, received information from the public that tracked him to a house in Lyneham.
"Specialist negotiators facilitated the safe surrender of the man at about 9pm after he was found hiding in the roof space," ACT Policing said in a statement later.
"Two females, believed to have been involved in the escape, were also arrested at the Lyneham house."
Mr McGettigan, who used his in-car dialling to ring Triple Zero and alert police, described the whole incident as "extraordinary".
"The police arrived within minutes; I could hear the sirens getting closer," he said.
"I hung back at the scene for a while and provided a statement and the dashcam card to police."
He did not have an impression that any weapons had been involved in the incident but one of the corrections officers was seen kneeling on the ground and another received a head wound.
"The ambulance turned up and took one of the corrections officers away; I think he must have been injured sometime during the incident or when the car was rammed," he said.
"It was pretty scary stuff; it really is a miracle someone wasn't badly hurt or killed."
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