Coventry & Warwickshire

Officer 'could not avoid' Bedworth mobility scooter crash

Jessie Whitehead Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Jessie Whitehead died in hospital after being struck by the police car

A police officer answering an emergency call "could not have avoided" a fatal collision with a mobility scooter, a watchdog found.

Jessie Whitehead was struck by a marked Warwickshire Police car in Bedworth on 23 January 2019.

The Independent Office for Police Investigation (IOPC) found the vehicle was travelling at an "appropriate speed" for the call.

An inquest jury returned a conclusion of misadventure into the death.

A narrative, given alongside the verdict following the five-day hearing at Warwickshire Justice Centre, said Ms Whitehead, 74, who had been crossing Coventry Road, "entered the road carriageway of her own volition, solely in control of her scooter".

Died in hospital

"Several witnesses gave evidence and confirmed that they heard sirens and saw flashing lights from the police car in question," it said.

Police officers gave first aid at the scene prior to the arrival of paramedics but Ms Whitehead died in hospital, the IOPC said.

Its investigation found the police car was travelling at appropriate speed for the response, around 65 mph on the 50 mph limit carriageway before the officer braked, immediately before the collision, on seeing the scooter enter the road.

It said the police car had been responding to a report of an oil leak from a broken-down crane on a road near Nuneaton, causing a dangerous hazard at a bend.

IOPC regional director, Derrick Campbell, said: "I again send my sympathies to the family and friends of Jessie Whitehead and everyone affected by this terribly sad event.

"The officer was suitably trained and qualified and sadly, despite efforts to brake, could not have avoided the tragic collision."

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