PC admits careless driving over 'devastating' crash

 

A police officer whose "irresponsible driving" left a colleague with severe brain damage has admitted careless driving.

Pc Ian Thompson was driving a marked police car at 75mph in a 40mph zone when he jumped a red light, crashing into a taxi which was crossing a dual carriageway in Basildon.

Reece Clarke, a special constable who was travelling in the passenger seat, suffered "devastating" injuries, Ipswich Crown Court heard. The taxi driver was also seriously injured.

Prosecutor Michael Crimp said: "A reasonable and prudent driver would not approach that junction at 75mph - he gave himself no opportunity to cope with any hazards."

Thompson was responding to an emergency shortly before midnight on July 24 last year.

He claimed he feared another officer's life was "potentially in danger", but the court heard he might have exaggerated the seriousness of the emergency.

The 31-year-old officer, based in Wickford, Essex, had been charged with dangerous driving. He denied that offence but today admitted the lesser charge of careless driving.

Mr Crimp said that, after consultation with Mr Clarke's family, this plea was acceptable and a trial on the original charge would not proceed.

Mr Clarke, from Shoebury, was based in Billericay and Wickford and was 19 at the time. He has required intensive rehabilitation since the incident.

Mr Crimp said: "The awful consequences of (Thompson) driving as he did are shown graphically in photographs of the aftermath."

He added the prosecution did not "necessarily accept" that the driving had not been dangerous, but he said it was not in the public interest for the trial to proceed.

He said: "We have given due regard to the views of the taxi driver who was badly injured and to the family of the passenger who was very seriously injured."

Allan Compton, mitigating, said Thompson had been responding to a genuine and unusual emergency involving a prisoner at Basildon police station.

The station was "lightly manned" at that time of night but was holding a large number of people in its cells.

"It was a type of emergency he had never before experienced in his career," Mr Compton said.

He added that the phasing of the lights may not have normal safety margins built in.

"He regularly visits Reece Clarke and that is something Reece gets some comfort from," he said. "He will continue to do whatever he can to help the Clarke family."

Judge David Goodin ordered Thompson to pay a fine of £250 and said three penalty points would be added to his driving licence.

He must also pay £85 in legal costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

The judge said the prosecution had taken into account many factors including the "generosity" of Wendy Clarke, speaking on behalf of her son, in reaching its decision to not proceed with the charge of dangerous driving.

He added that he could not take into account the "very serious" injuries suffered by the taxi driver and the "devastating" injuries of Mr Clarke when passing sentence.

But he said Thompson's behaviour had been "irresponsible and wrong".

"You were going to a police station where, by definition, there were a number of police officers and custody staff who could deal with the emergency," he added.

"You drove very fast indeed. There is no question of the red mist descending - you were responding in what you believed to be a proportionate way but it wasn't.

"You drove at excessive speed in a town centre on a very, very busy intersection."

Thompson, who was placed on restricted duties after the crash, will now face disciplinary proceedings.

PA

Voices
voices
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried