IPCC launches investigation into police car crossing death

 

The police watchdog has launched an investigation into the death of a student who was struck by an unmarked police car on a pedestrian crossing.

Xuan Wei Zhang, 24, died in hospital after he was hit by a black BMW police car in the Newtown area of Birmingham on April 4.

He was crossing Newtown Row Carriageway on a traffic light-controlled crossing when the collision happened at around 7pm.

Xuan, who was from China, was studying for an MSc in data networks and security at Birmingham City University and was living with friends in the Newtown area.

West Midlands Police said the vehicle, which was driven by a uniformed officer, was responding to reports of a stolen vehicle at the time of the collision.

The force referred the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which said today that it had decided to conduct an investigation following an initial assessment of the circumstances.

A spokesman for the IPCC said investigators had viewed footage from the vehicle's onboard CCTV system, which revealed that its siren was on when Xuan was hit.

The investigation will involve gathering statements from officers, reviewing witness accounts and looking at CCTV footage, the spokesman said. The speed of the police car will also be examined, along with road conditions, police logs and recordings of communication between the two officers in the car and the control room.

The IPCC has met the student's parents, who flew into the UK last Thursday to formally identify their son.

IPCC commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: "This is a very distressing time for all those involved and in particular I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr Zhang for their terrible loss.

"Our independent investigation is under way and we will be examining all the circumstances of this tragic incident. We would be grateful for anyone who witnessed the collision, who has not already come forward, to contact the IPCC."

PA