'You don't know who you're messing with': Vatican priest caught in red light district after police chase
St Peter's Basilica, where Father Burgazzi is a master of ceremonies
A Vatican priest led police on a high speed car chase leaving three officers injured after being caught in a red light zone, a court has heard.
Father Cesare Burgazzi, 51, said he 'floored' his Ford Focus car after he mistook the plain clothes officers who tried to flag him down during a spot check as robbers.
During the twenty minute early hours chase - which was described in court as "like something from a Hollywood movie" two police cars crashed and three police left injured.
The court in Rome heard that Father Burgazzi was a priest who worked at the Vatican's State Department and was also a master of ceremonies at St Peter's Basilica.
Officers gave chase after Father Burgazzi was spotted driving slowly in the Valle Giulia, an area of Rome well known for prostitution and transsexuals, and flagged down but instead drove off at high speed.
When he eventually stopped he told stunned officers:"You have no idea who I am. You don't know who you are messing with," not before he had tried to drive his car at them.
Father Burgazzi is accused of wounding, resisting arrest and failing to produce documents for the car or his identity when stopped.
His lawyer, Gianni Lostia, told the court in Rome: 'My client is not a user of prostitutes or transsexuals - he did not have condoms in his car and he contests the police's claim that the front seats were reclined.
'He was simply on his way home after a night out at a restaurant with priest friends. He thought the officers who had tried to stop him were trying to rob him and he panicked and drove off.'
Prosecutor Maria Bice Barborini asked the judge for an 18 month jail sentence while lawyers representing the injured officers said they were looking for 20,000 Euro damages for each of them.
The case has been adjourned until later this month for sentencing.