Essex

Basildon police: Ian Thompson admits careless driving

A policeman who drove into a junction at up to 75mph before crashing his car into a taxi has been fined £250 for careless driving.

Pc Ian Thompson, 31, was driving the car when it collided with a Hackney cab in Basildon on 24 July last year.

Reece Clarke, a special constable in the passenger seat of the police car, was left brain damaged.

Thompson, based in Wickford, Essex, admitted careless driving at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said the taxi driver had been crossing the Broadmayne dual carriageway in Basildon and had passed through a green light when his cab was hit.

He said evidence suggested Thompson had been travelling at 75mph and had jumped a red light.

'Irresponsible and wrong'

Thompson told officers he was not going to wait for the light to turn green as he was responding to an emergency.

Mr Crimp said: "He was responding to a call to a genuine alarm in custody (at the police station in Basildon) relating to the behaviour of a prisoner.

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

Mr Clarke, from Shoebury, was based in Billericay and Wickford and was 19 at the time of the crash. He has required intense rehabilitation since the incident, the court was told.

Judge David Goodin ordered Thompson to pay a £250 fine, £85 in costs and £15 in victim surcharge.

He will also have three penalty points added to his licence.

Judge Goodin said Thompson's behaviour had been "irresponsible and wrong".

He told the officer: "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.

'Life in danger'

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

Allan Compton, mitigating, said Thompson had been responding to a genuine and unusual emergency.

Basildon police station was "lightly manned" at that time of night but was holding a large number of prisoners, said Mr Compton.

He said Thompson feared the nature of the emergency meant a police officer's life was "potentially in danger", he added.

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

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites