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Norfolk's top cop fined over crash

PUBLISHED: 12:27 10 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:10 03 March 2010

Norfolk's chief constable who had responsibility for helping plan police traffic policy was today fined £300 after admitting straying over a double white line and causing an accident.

Norfolk's chief constable who had responsibility for helping plan police traffic policy was today fined £300 after admitting straying over a double white line and causing an accident.

Ken Williams, 57, chief constable of Norfolk Police, also had his licence endorsed with three penalty points as a result of the accident at Snetterton, Norfolk, in September last year.

Williams suffered a broken foot in the accident and two people in the other car received minor injuries.

He did not appear in person at Thetford Magistrates Court, Norfolk, but pleaded guilty by letter.

Prior to the accident, Williams was chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers road policy unit.

He resigned from his position after being accused of driving offences as a result of the accident.

In his letter to the court, Williams pleaded guilty to failing to comply with double white line markings.

As a result of that plea, a second allegation of driving without due care and attention was withdrawn by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Phil Charnley, prosecuting, said that a G-registration Honda Legend being driven by Williams collided with an oncoming car shortly after midnight on the A11 at Snetterton on September 30.

He said Williams' car had strayed over the solid double white lines in the middle of the road.

Williams wrote a lengthy letter apologising for his error and for the distress and inconvenience he had caused.

"I am guilty of failing to conform to a statutory road sign and totally accept that I allowed my car to stray over the solid double white lines," he said in his letter read out by the court clerk.

"I very much regret what was a tragic but momentary error and I am so relieved I was the only person to suffer any serious injury as a consequence.

"The highly professional investigation carried out by police officers clearly demonstrates that the front off-side wheel of my car was on the white line and the wing mirror was over the white line at the point of collision.

"In 41 years of driving this is the first and only time I have been involved in an accident of this nature and I am deeply sorry that all ... involved have suffered as a consequence of my mistake.

"I would like to say how sorry I am for the distress I caused to the other two people in the car and for the inconvenience I caused to the emergency services and this court.'

District Judge David Cooper said in imposing the £300 fine and endorsing Williams' licence with three penalty points he was taking into account the chief constable's early guilty plea and his "personal mitigation'.

He also ordered Williams to pay £35 costs.

The court heard that the chief constable had a clean driving licence prior to the accident.

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