Wanessa Lewandowska: Crash death police pursuit 'justified'

image copyrightSouth Beds News Agency
image captionWanessa Lewandowska, 15, died in the crash in High Town Road, Luton, on 9 August

The police pursuit of a speeding car which crashed, killing a teenager, was "justified and proportionate", an investigation has found.

Wanessa Lewandowska, 15, was in the car driven by Michael Fludgate, which crashed into a shopfront in Luton.

The police watchdog said an officer pursued a passenger, who fled the scene, before finding Wanessa injured in the vehicle.

An investigation found the officer's actions "did not amount to misconduct".

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report also found the pursuing Bedfordshire Police officer had left a "significant gap" between cars and that there had been no contact between the fleeing car and that of an officer in August 2016.

'Genuinely unaware'

Fludgate, 20, was given an eight-year jail sentence after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, causing death while uninsured and causing death while unlicensed.

He hit speeds of of 80mph (128km/h) on a 20mph (32km/h) limit road and ignored pleas from Miss Lewandowska and another passenger to slow down.

He hit a speed hump and crashed the VW Golf into a TV repair shop in High Town Road and Ms Lewandowska died at the scene.

The officer pursued the fellow passenger before returning to find Miss Lewandowska still in the vehicle in a critical condition.

The IPCC investigator concluded this was "not according to correct policy" but as the officer was "genuinely unaware" she was still in the vehicle when he gave chase it was not misconduct.

image copyrightSouth Beds News Agency
image captionThe Volkswagen Golf the teenager was travelling in crashed into a shop

IPCC operations manager Colin Dewar said: "Although he left the scene to carry out further pursuit on foot before checking the welfare of anyone remaining in the vehicle, this action was considered not sufficiently incorrect that a panel could consider it to be misconduct."

Bedfordshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Garry Forsyth added: "We co-operated fully with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and support their findings that the actions of the officer involved were justified and proportionate."

image copyrightDavid Landau
image captionCandles and flowers were left in High Town Road in memory of the 15-year-old

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