Birmingham & Black Country

PC Vaughan Lowe cleared over Birmingham student crash death

A police officer has been cleared of causing the death of a student hit by his unmarked police car.

Xuan Wei Zhang, 24, from China, was struck outside Newtown shopping centre in Birmingham in April 2012.

PC Vaughan Lowe, 43, had been responding to reports of a stolen vehicle at the time of the crash.

He was found not guilty of causing death by careless driving after a 10-day trial, but could still face a police disciplinary hearing.

PC Lowe was cleared by a jury at Warwick Crown Court on Wednesday.

Following the case the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said Mr Lowe could be disciplined because he faced accusations of gross misconduct.

'Gross misconduct'

IPCC Deputy Chair Rachel Cerfontyne said its report had been passed on to Mr Zhang's family and West Midlands Police.

"It found that PC Lowe had a case to answer for gross misconduct as his driving fell below the required standard and failed to comply with a number of national and force-wide policies, as well as the Highway Code," she said.

Mr Zhang had been using a crossing at the time of the crash. He suffered head and back injuries and later died in hospital.

PC Lowe's unmarked BMW had its sirens and lights activated at the time.

West Midlands Assistant Chief Constable Gary Cann said there were "no winners" from the court verdict.

"A family remain grieving for a loved one and a highly-skilled police officer who has dedicated his life to public service - and who had an otherwise unblemished driving history - will forever be haunted by the events of that night," he said.

PC Lowe, who joined the force in 1990, was suspended from driving duties after the crash but remained in active service until charges were brought in November 2013.

The force said it would now review the suspension.

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