Sussex force to handle fatal ambulance crash inquiry

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East Sussex map

An investigation into an accident in which a patient died in an ambulance being driven by a police officer is to be handled locally by the Sussex force.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it would not be carrying out the inquiry into the crash in Ninfield, East Sussex, on Friday.

Daniel Martin, 31, from Horam, was injured in an earlier accident when his Mini collided with a highways lorry.

Both ambulance crew members treated him while a police officer drove.

Careered into bush

The first accident happened in bad weather just before 1430 GMT on the A271 Boreham Street, near Herstmonceux.

Mr Martin, who had life-threatening injuries, was being taken to Eastbourne District General Hospital when the ambulance left the country road and careered into a bush.

The police helicopter and Kent Air Ambulance attended the second crash but Mr Martin was pronounced dead at the scene.

One of the ambulance crew was treated at hospital for minor injuries.

A Sussex Police spokesman said it was unusual for officers to drive ambulances but they sometimes did so during incidents when medical staff needed to concentrate wholly on treating their patient.

A 36-year-old man from St Leonards-on-Sea, who was driving the highways vehicle operated by a contractor for East Sussex County Council, was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving.

He has been freed on police bail until 17 February, pending further inquiries.

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