Pc accused of killing motorist in crash was ‘driving up to 110mph in response to emergency’
A police officer travelling at speeds up to 110mph responding to an emergency call from colleagues crashed into another car en route, fatally injuring its driver, a court heard.
Experienced West Mercia police constable Jamie Holloway, a qualified advanced driver and trained firearms officer, went into the rear of David Shaw’s Ford Fiesta, at 2.51pm on May 28 2018, a bank holiday.
Holloway, aged 50 and an officer since 2002, is on trial at Worcester Crown Court accused of causing death by dangerous driving after causing Mr Shaw’s car to flip twice and land on its roof.
Mr Shaw, who had been in a queue of traffic travelling at 37mph, was signalling and moving right as he was struck by Holloway’s unmarked BMW X5, which was on blue lights and sirens and travelling well above the road’s 50mph speed limit.
A collision investigator calculated that the police 4x4’s brakes were applied 1.5 seconds, or 60 metres before the crash, when it was travelling at 103mph.
At the point of impact, the police vehicle was doing 75mph, after heavy braking.
Opening the case on Monday, Duncan Atkinson QC said the road went from a single lane to two lanes, immediately at the point the crash happened on the busy A449 main road near the village of Acton, halfway between Worcester and Kidderminster, Worcestershire.
The Crown’s barrister said that, preceding the two-lane section, the BMW had been keeping right, where it was driving over a section of road painted with hatched markings to show right-hand turn only junctions “to overtake the queue that included David Shaw”.
Mr Atkinson said that, as the road once again became two lanes, 53-year-old Mr Shaw “indicated right and started to move to the right”.
“In doing so, he was therefore using the road in the way for which it was designed and in a way a driver would be expected to behave,” added the Crown QC.
Holloway, who was in the car with a colleague, crashed while on the way to Worcester to give back-up to police dealing with a man who had been making suicide threats and had a “tendency towards violence”.
Mr Atkinson said: “The prosecution case is this was obviously excessive speed for the road and more particularly for the traffic conditions on the road at the time.
“As David Shaw started his manoeuvre, the BMW X5 crossing the hatched mark area and right-hand turn junctions started to brake.
“But such was its speed, the BMW X5 stood no chance of avoiding Mr Shaw’s Fiesta, or a chance of slowing to a safer speed let alone stopping before it struck him.
“Because of the speed of the BMW, when it stuck Mr Shaw’s Fiesta it propelled his car forward and sideways, across the central reservation and onto the carriageway on the other side.
“As it did so, Mr Shaw’s Fiesta rolled over, became airborne, rotated on its end and rolled again before ending up on its roof.
“Mr Shaw suffered catastrophic injuries and later died, on June 10.”
Mr Atkinson said Holloway later told investigators he was responding to an incident where he had “heard panic” in the voices of his colleagues.
The officer said that he “considered there to be an immediate risk to life”, and “therefore believed his driving was necessary and proportionate”.
Mr Atkinson said there was force guidance about when officers should drive above the speed limit, which read they “should only have done so following a clear decision of necessity, proportionality and circumstances existing at the time”.
The guidance added: “While an exemption from adhering to speed limits exists, there still exists a requirement to maintain safety margins.
“These exemptions do not include driving at a speed and in a manner that would amount to driving without due care or dangerous driving.”
The Crown’s QC added: “In short, the prosecution case is the defendant caused David Shaw’s death, by driving in a manner which fell far below the standard of that of a reasonable and competent driver, driving that can be categorised as dangerous.”
Holloway denies any wrongdoing and the trial, estimated to take up to eight days, continues.