A tweet from Jeremy Clarkson complaining about the closure of a road in west London after a shocking crash early on Friday morning in which a man lost his life, with the collision apparently caused by drivers racing, has been met with replies from a number of police officers in both the capital and elsewhere explaining their work to him.
The Metropolitan Police say that the crash happened at around 0140 hours on Friday morning as a “convoy of vehicles” were being driven at speed along the A4 westbound near Hammersmith flyover, adding that the drivers were “suspected of racing.”
A man aged in his 70s, described by police as “an innocent member of the public,” died at the scene while his wife, also aged in her 70s, is in a stable condition in hospital.
Three people – two men and a woman – were arrested at the scene on suspicion of dangerous driving.
Police say that another man, who had fled the scene, later turned himself in and has been arrested on suspicion of the same offence.
Before full details of the incident emerged, Clarkson tweeted:
Dear The Police, I know it was a nasty crash in Hammersmith last night but how can it take this long to re-open the road?
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) June 7, 2019
His tweet, which is still on the social network, received widespread condemnation, including from a number of road traffic police officers whose work includes dealing with the fallout of incidents such as this – one of them the Metropolitan Police’s lead for Vision Zero, Chief Superintendent Andy Cox.
Dear @JeremyClarkson the nasty crash you mention resulted in fatality. As lead Detective I require investigators to secure best evidence from a highly complex scene. It takes as long as necessary. We want roads moving but I hope you understand prioritise quality investigations! https://t.co/QlPrQUsfAG
— Andy Cox (@SuptAndyCox) June 8, 2019
Hi Jeremy, we're sorry this may have caused delay to your journey. Due to the serious nature of the collision, our collision investigation team have to carry out a full forensic investigation which can take time. This is so we are able to provide accurate evidence at court.
— Kensington & Chelsea Police (@MPSKenChel) June 7, 2019
Worth a read next time you're inconvenienced by a police road closure. https://t.co/xyOiEShXQg
— CI Andrea Quinton (@ACQ91) June 9, 2019
This subject comes up a lot @JeremyClarkson so actually I think it's a reasonable question. As an SIO of fatals for 15 years having attended over 150, I wrote a blog to explain it. Hope it helps: https://t.co/LsFdZkCTBP
— Sgt Harry Tangye (@DC_ARVSgt) June 8, 2019
We would like to extend an invitation for you to come out on patrol with us for a shift - so you can see, first hand, what we have to deal with
— WMP Traffic (@Trafficwmp) June 8, 2019
The fatal incident early on Friday morning is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police’s Serious Collisions Investigation Unit (SCIU).
Detective Constable Liam Kerrigan of the SCIU said: “Our initial inquiries have established that up to nine cars were travelling at high speed at the time of the collision. They appear to have been in convoy and may well have been racing.
“The man who tragically died was an innocent member of the public, driving home with his wife and following the rules of the road.
Police have appealed for witnesses to the collision, or who viewed what happened beforehand, to come forward, including people who may have dashcam footage.
DC Kerrigan added: “I would appeal to those who were driving as part of the convoy to search their conscience and get in touch with police about what has happened.”
Officers can be reached by telephoning 101 or via Twitter @MetCC quoting CAD569/7 Jun. The SCIU can also be contacted directly on 020 8543 5157, and the charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.