Germany: Van Carrying 29 Syrians Flees, Hits Police Car

Germany: Van Carrying 29 Syrians Flees, Hits Police Car
Policemen stand behind a sign that reads 'Epidemic Alarm - No trespassing' nearby a poultry farm in Markersdorf near Goerlitz, in eastern Germany on Oct. 10, 2008. (Stringer/Getty Images)

BERLIN—A van carrying 29 people from Syria pushed a patrol car off the road as officers tried to stop the vehicle near Germany’s border with Poland, police said Wednesday. No one was hurt.

Off-duty officers noticed the van weaving through traffic and nearly causing an accident near Goerlitz on Tuesday evening, federal police said in a statement. The Hungarian-registered Citroen Jumper’s back door was open at one point, and the officers noticed that there appeared to be people inside.

Police tried to stop the van as it headed toward Markersdorf, a few kilometers (miles) further west. A patrol car was pushed off the road and its right side damaged, while the van came to a halt and the driver tried to flee on foot.

The driver was arrested after putting up “significant resistance,” police said. Officers found 13 men, six women and 10 children from Syria inside the van. None were hurt, although there were no seats in the back of the van.

Authorities were investigating what route the Syrians had taken, but evidence pointed to the Balkan route used by many migrants, police said.

The 50-year-old driver told authorities he was Palestinian but is believed to be Syrian, police added. He is under investigation on suspicion of smuggling foreigners into Germany, resisting police, and dangerous interference with traffic. Police did not immediately give any information on his identity.

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