Speeding police officer convicted of dangerous driving for seriously injuring cyclist while responding to incident

Court hears how van's wheels left ground as it headed over humpback bridge at more than twice the speed limit

by Simon_MacMichael   August 23, 2012  

Gavel

A police officer who struck a cyclist while driving at more than twice the speed limit as he responded to an incident, leaving him seriously injured, has been convicted of dangerous driving at Southwark Crown Court.

British Transport Police officer David Lynch was driving the marked police van at 68 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone prior to the collision on 31 March last year in Hackney, East London, reports BBC News.

He had been heading towards an incident in the Old Street area at the time, with the van’s siren on and its lights flashing.

The 31-year-old had admitted careless driving, but pleaded not guilty to the charge of dangerous driving.

Singer-songwriter Joseph Belmonte, known as Pepe, spent two weeks in hospital as a result of the injuries he received.

Witnesses told the court that all four of the vehicle’s wheels left the ground as it travelled over a humpback bridge at speed before hitting the cyclist, who had been travelling in the same direction.

Mr Belmonte, who cannot remember the incident, was struck by the bonnet of the van and thrown against a tree.

In a statement read out to the court, PC Gary Thomas, a passenger in the police van, said: "I believe we were approaching the bridge too quickly as I couldn't see over the bridge and whether there were any hazards on the other side.

"I was about to tell PC Lynch we were going too fast and needed to slow down but we were already going over the bridge.

"It caused me to panic as I thought something could be coming towards us."

"The cyclist had no chance of avoiding impact with us as he was facing in a forward direction," he added.

PC Lynch is due to be sentenced on 8 October.

18 user comments

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Would love to know what he was responding to that was so important....Transport Police...Hmmm

posted by SideBurn [763 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 14:07

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There's not much he could be responding to that would convince me he was justified in risking people's lives to get there

Even if another individual were at knife-point, it makes no sense to cause actual injury in rushing to prevent potential injury

Pound to a penny he gets a wrist slap though

posted by mad_scot_rider [533 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 14:36

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Was just going to say I wonder what he was responding to. There are many police vehicles traveling through cities at exceptionally fast speeds but I question how many of these are actually warranted.

posted by roseofwinter [38 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 14:56

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I have seen on a cop programme on tv a police car responding to an incident at high speed, all sirens blaring and driving like a mad man. The incident? A shoplifter who had taken an item worth less than £10.

One has to wonder whether someone's life is really worth less than getting to an incident like that.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 15:15

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Any excuse for blues and twos - eh?

posted by badseed999 [4 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 15:40

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badseed999 wrote:
Any excuse for blues and twos - eh?

Aye, usually the traffic lights up ahead turning red D Oh

posted by mcj78 [21 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 15:48

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On the BBC London News, he can expect a custodial sentence, sounds like the victim will suffer from his injuries for much longer!

posted by onlyonediane [159 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 20:33

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there are those officers who are trained and experienced
in high speed, hazardous condition driving ... then there
are the others .... got to feel for the poor bugger on
the bike - first you know is waking up in hospital !
Get well soon hopefully.

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [663 posts]
24th August 2012 - 7:39

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Had a near miss with a police car that ran a red light. He only put his siren on as he hit the lights when it was obvious he wasn't going to make them. Either it's important enough to use your siren or it isn't. If he had had his siren on all the time I would have stayed out of the way, but to do it at the last moment to get through lights when there's a cyclist already legally crossing your path...

posted by HKCambridge [106 posts]
24th August 2012 - 11:26

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Watching a pursuit trained traffic officer driving is a joy of seeing speed reduced to that appropriate for the hazard and the correct gear engaged. I've seen them down to 20mph approaching red lights but driving in such a mode that they move onward at the limits of tyre traction but safely.

Many of the standard vehicle drivers are not so trained - I've watched one on Kingsland Road lucky not to hit anyone with his dangerous driving style.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [468 posts]
24th August 2012 - 11:27

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HKCambridge; They can treat a red light as give way if using blue lights/sirens. It was still your right of way regardless of sirens or no sirens (I am not saying that someone should obstruct a blue light driver).

posted by SideBurn [763 posts]
24th August 2012 - 21:16

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A V Lowe wrote:
Watching a pursuit trained traffic officer driving is a joy of seeing speed reduced to that appropriate for the hazard and the correct gear engaged. I've seen them down to 20mph approaching red lights but driving in such a mode that they move onward at the limits of tyre traction but safely.

Many of the standard vehicle drivers are not so trained - I've watched one on Kingsland Road lucky not to hit anyone with his dangerous driving style.

From talking to officers on twitter, forums etc.. I get the feeling only a small percentage (maybe 20-25%) are trained advanced police drivers, the rest are just like you or me.

downfader's picture

posted by downfader [190 posts]
24th August 2012 - 22:50

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Police drivers (and m/bikers) kill far more than is proportionate to their numbers on the road.

And don't say they are trying to save lives, because very, very few are in life and death situations that require high speed chases.

Heather Mills (Paul McCartney's ex) lost her leg by a police m/biker's actions.

Training only reduces risk to the officer and others, it does not remove it.

Binky

posted by davebinks [123 posts]
25th August 2012 - 14:15

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davebinks wrote:
Police drivers (and m/bikers) kill far more than is proportionate to their numbers on the road.

And don't say they are trying to save lives, because very, very few are in life and death situations that require high speed chases.

Heather Mills (Paul McCartney's ex) lost her leg by a police m/biker's actions.

Training only reduces risk to the officer and others, it does not remove it.

I think there have been reported to be something like 12,000 crashes involving police vehicles a year. The Evening Standard did a breakdown one year of the numbers iirc.

downfader's picture

posted by downfader [190 posts]
25th August 2012 - 14:38

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Police standard driving courses are what every cop gets when he joins the Police. These courses are for 4 weeks and give the driver a higher standard of driving than you woulkd normally get in a basic learner course.

However when the driver gets his / her blue lights / sirens on a lot have this feeling that they have a bubble around the vehicle and everyone on the road can see and hear them which ends up horribly wrong.

In my force they grade jobs from 1 downwards and we have short time periods to get to a grade 1 and an hour to a grade 2 etc etc. I will NOT put my sirens or lights on for a grade 2 and below job and only a grade 1.

We do not have right of way at lights / junctions we are only empowered to go through lights / junctions if we feel the way ahead is clear or that the other road users can see / hear us.

Personally i believe the cop will go to prison as we always pay the penalty for our job. That said he deserves a custodial sentence for his behaviour on the road.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2631 posts]
25th August 2012 - 17:49

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8 months suspended sentence, 240 hours community service, 15 month ban.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-19881927

According to sentencing guidelines (http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/dangerous_driving/)

Non custodial options may be considered, coupled with a long period of disqualification, but usually a custodial penalty is appropriate, especially where a number of aggravating factors combine.

Aggrevating factors were;
- greatly excessive speed
- disregard of warnings from fellow passengers
- serious injury to one or more victims

No mitigating factors.

Interestingly, 240 hours community service was the sentence given to a man who posted "all soldiers should die and go to hell" on Facebook (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-19883828)

posted by qwerky [130 posts]
9th October 2012 - 15:08

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This chap and his victim were on TV tonight on a documentary,"Too afraid to speed" or something like that. Was not able to give it my full attention but he has had to resign from the Police. Not sure if I was supposed to feel sorry for him, but I thought they said that blue light drivers kill nearly 200 people a year!!! Out of a total of 2000 people killed on the road that is a shocking statistic.

posted by SideBurn [763 posts]
2nd November 2012 - 4:20

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10% of road deaths? Does anyone have a link to confirm because this is a bit of an eye-opener.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2868 posts]
2nd November 2012 - 9:54

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