Driver banned after policeman injured
A TRAFFIC cop suffered broken ribs after a lorry ploughed into the back of his patrol car catapulting him into the air, a court heard.The HGV driver, Noel Collins, admitted driving without due care and attention after a crash on the A14 at Copdock and was this week sentenced to a year's motoring ban.
A TRAFFIC cop suffered broken ribs after a lorry ploughed into the back of his patrol car catapulting him into the air, a court heard.
The HGV driver, Noel Collins, admitted driving without due care and attention after a crash on the A14 at Copdock and was this week sentenced to a year's motoring ban.
Magistrates were told PC Chris Cubitt, from the Suffolk Police Traffic Unit, was helping to sort out the chaos left by an earlier five vehicle pile-up when the accident happened.
Police set up signs along the road warning motorists of the accident ahead, said prosecutor Gareth Davies.
South East Suffolk Magistrates, sitting in Ipswich, heard PC Cubitt had decided to move his patrol car, with its blue lights flashing when he saw the lorry coming towards him.
"He realised it wasn't going to stop and decided to get out of the vehicle before he was hit," said Mr Davies.
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"The vehicle was hit in the rear and the impact threw the PC into the air and he sustained some serious injuries," said Mr Davies.
PC Cubitt received hospital treatment for fractured ribs, a damaged leg, back and arm injuries after January's accident but has now recovered and is back at work.
"It was very fortunate in the sense it (the injuries) could have been even worse," said Mr Davies.
Magistrates were told of witnesses hearing a loud screeching sound before impact and seeing smoke coming out of the lorry's tyres. In a statement read out to the court one witness estimated the speed of the lorry was between 50 and 60 mph.
Sarah Khawaja, mitigating, told magistrates Collins, 31, of Felix Road, Ipswich, had only been driving a short while that morning before the accident happened.
She said it was frosty morning which made driving conditions difficult and he was concentrating hard on the road straight ahead.
"Perhaps too hard," she argued. She said Collins saw the police car but didn't notice the initial signs, which meant he failed to take sufficient action to avoid the vehicle.
She added Collins showed genuine remorse and kept telephoning Suffolk police headquarters to see if the PC Cubitt was all right.
In sentencing bench chair Anne Walker, said aggravating features were the excessive speed given the road conditions, the degree of carelessness by not spotting the signs and the serious injuries suffered by the officer.
She said Collins would have been fined £500 if it were not for his guilty plea. Instead Collins was fined £350 and ordered to pay £55 costs.
A Suffolk police press officer warned motorists to adjust their driving according to the conditions.
"Any emergency services are vulnerable when dealing with road traffic accidents," she said.
"We would urge motorists to always adjust their driving to what they see unfolding before them and exercise extreme caution and care at the site of an accident or other disruptions to the normal flow of traffic."
PC Cubitt declined to comment at this stage.