Police chase crash leaves elderly couple dead in London

Investigation launched into officers' actions

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Saturday 23 February 2019 12:10 GMT
A man and woman in their 70s died after the Citroen C3 car they were traveling in (right) was hit by a Ford Transit van which was being pursued by police
A man and woman in their 70s died after the Citroen C3 car they were traveling in (right) was hit by a Ford Transit van which was being pursued by police (PA)

An elderly couple have been killed after a crash involving a van that was being chased by police.

The man and woman, both in their 70s, were driving through Eltham in south-east London when their car collided with a Ford Transit.

They were pronounced dead at the scene shortly after midnight on Saturday.

Police said the driver of the van was taken to hospital after being arrested on suspicion of driving while over the alcohol limit, driving while unfit through drugs and death by dangerous driving.

“At approximately midnight on Saturday, police officers on patrol noted a van being driven erratically at speed,” a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said.

“Officers in a patrol car followed the Ford Transit van and requested for it to stop. However, the van failed to stop for the officers.

“At approximately 12.06am, the van was in collision with a Citroen C3 car on Footscray Road, Eltham.

“The London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade were called to the scene.

“Despite the efforts of emergency services, the male and female occupants of the car, both believed to be aged in their 70s, were pronounced deceased at the scene.”

Their next of kin have been informed and Scotland Yard’s directorate of professional standards has been informed.

The van driver’s injuries are not life-threatening.

Sir Stephen House, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: “Whilst this collision and the circumstances surrounding it will be investigated, I, on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service, extend sincere condolences to the family and friends of the two people who died as a result of this incident. Our thoughts are with them at this time.”

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The Independent Office for Police Conduct said it was investigating the incident, and that it had sent officials to gather evidence from the scene and officers involved.

“Our investigation will focus on the police’s actions prior to the crash,” a statement added.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased and all those affected by this incident. We will make contact with the family at the appropriate point to explain our role.”

It came a fortnight after a pregnant teenager and her husband died after their car hit a coach head-on following a police pursuit.

Patrick McDonagh, 19, and wife Shauna, 18, were speeding on the wrong side of the A40 in Acton at the time, an inquest heard.

Officers started the chase in the mistaken belief they had been involved in a burglary, but had called off the pursuit shortly before the crash on 10 February.

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