Investigation today into police crash

AN independent investigation will open today into a car crash which left two Suffolk police officers with serious injuries.

Russell Claydon

AN independent investigation will open today into a car crash which left two Suffolk police officers with serious injuries.

The Lowestoft-based special constables are recovering in hospital after their marked police car was involved in a collision in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A silver Mitsubishi Evolution was being followed by a police van when it collided with the special's car at the junction with Tom Crisp Way and Lowestoft Road at around 1.45am.

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Smoke was seen billowing from the wreckage as four fire crews battled to free the trapped officers, who work voluntarily for Suffolk Constabulary, and the two other men who were also stuck inside their car.

The firefighters were forced to use hydraulic cutting equipment to take the roofs off both vehicles to enable them to free them.

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The men were taken to the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, where the police officers are recovering after receiving fractured bones and abdominal injuries.

The other two men were able to leave hospital yesterday after receiving minor injures.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said a 28-year-old man from the Great Yarmouth area had been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving and failing to stop for a police officer.

He was quizzed by detectives after receiving treatment for his injuries and released on police bail to return to Lowestoft Police Station on March 7.

“A marked police van was following a silver Mitsubishi Evolution which had failed to stop for officers on Belvedere Road at around 1.45am,” she said. “The van lost site of the Mitsubishi and when sight was regained the Mitsubishi was found to be in a collision with a marked police car on Tom Crisp Way.”

She added the officer's injuries were not deemed to be life-changing.

Last night a spokeswoman for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the case will be formally lodged by the force's professional standards department today.

“We have been made aware of the incident,” she said. “One of our regional directors has had discussions about it (with Suffolk police) and it is going to be formally referred to us on Monday.”

She said the next step was for an investigator to do an independent assessment and decide on the level of involvement that is necessary from the IPCC.

Matt Gould, chairman of the Suffolk Police Federation, said they would not comment on an incident being referred to the IPCC.

But he praised the efforts of the county's special constables by saying: “These are officers who put their lives on the line voluntarily for no financial gain.”

Tom Crisp Way was closed off to motorists for more than seven hours following the crash while officers from the serious collision investigation team examined the scene.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call PC Gary Buss at Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

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