Injured officer returns to work after horror crash

A SPECIAL police officer has said he feels lucky to be alive after suffering serious injuries in a crash in a police car.

Special constabulary inspector Paul Booker, from Lowestoft, spent three weeks in hospital after a crash in February last year, and was off full duties for more than a year. But he overcame the odds to return to work, winning an award for his courage.

Responding to a police call-out in Lowestoft on February 14 last year, Insp Booker and special sergeant Mykal Trim headed towards the south Lowestoft relief road.

Despite not being allowed to take part in any pursuits, Insp Booker said that Trim “put the car across the road” to block an oncoming car. There was a collision and the police car was pushed off the road, down Tom Crisp Way and into a ravine.

Trim, who was found guilty of careless driving following a trial at Norwich Crown Court earlier this month, was injured and Insp Booker, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, was left fighting for his life with severe injuries.

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He spent three weeks in the James Paget and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, undergoing several operations. He had a badly broken left arm, five breaks in his pelvic bone, a ruptured spleen, two fractured vertebrae, crushed lungs, and a scarred liver.

Insp Booker, 40, said: “Luckily, I pulled through and, despite absolute agony at times and being confined to a bed for a week and not being able to move at all, I was soon in an electric wheelchair.

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“I do remember asking the doctor in the early days if I would walk again, as there was this fear as I could not move the middle of my body.

“But with the support of my fantastic family, particularly my wife Nicola, who has been my rock without a shadow of a doubt, the excellent nurses, doctors and physios as well as the absolutely superb backing from Suffolk Constabulary, I managed to get back to work.”

He returned to work in May and in recognition of his courage was named winner of the Outstanding Bravery of the Year award at the Stars of Suffolk awards in Ipswich. “I was really privileged to even be nominated, let alone win, and I felt very humble to be present with so many deserving people there at the awards,” he said.

Trim, 38, was found guilty of careless driving after being charged with causing a crash by breaching regulations and blocking the road with a police car. He told the court during the trial that he was attempting a three-point turn in the road to get a better position to keep watch for the oncoming vehicle.

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