Nottingham

Police officer dismissed over wrong-way M1 driver crash

M1 crash scene Image copyright @ChrisPrior123
Image caption Albert Newman was heading north on the southbound carriageway of the M1 before the collision

A police officer has been dismissed after missing an opportunity to prevent a fatal crash in which an elderly driver drove the wrong way up the M1.

Albert Newman, 87, collided with a van near Lockington in Leicestershire in October 2015, killing himself and a passenger in the van.

PC Jonathan Mortimer had received a report from someone concerned about Mr Newman's driving two months before.

The officer then failed to spot his licence had been revoked.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Michael Luciw, who was killed in the crash, was described by his mother as "a loving father, son, brother, uncle, grandson and nephew"

A bank employee contacted Nottinghamshire Police on 12 August 2015 saying Mr Newman had dementia and may present a danger on the roads.

The worker had seen Mr Newman get into his car and drive away, despite appearing disorientated.

Giving evidence at a hearing for gross misconduct, PC Mortimer said he scanned the first two pages of the incident log and did not see any reference to Mr Newman's disqualification.

The officer said he assumed it meant he only had to check Mr Newman was safe and healthy.

He said Mr Newman seemed "fine and alert" when he visited him and his car was parked safely in the garage.

Image caption Albert Newman collided with a van on the M1, killing himself and the van's passenger, and seriously injuring the van's driver

The fatal crash happened on 12 October, killing 27-year-old Michael Luciw and also seriously injuring the driver of the van.

PC Mortimer admitted failing to make adequate inquiries into Mr Newman's driving.

He also admitted failing to adequately check Police National Computer records relating to the pensioner's driving licence.

He was found to have breached the standards expected of him in relation to duties and responsibilities, discreditable conduct and honesty and integrity.

IPCC Commissioner Derrick Campbell said: "The public expect officers to carry out their duties professionally and effectively but in this instance there were serious failings on the part of the officer concerned."

Nottinghamshire Police Federation said PC Mortimer had "nearly 20 years of unblemished service" and it was "deeply disappointed" by the finding and the sanction handed down.

It added that the decision may be appealed.

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