Police officer sues crash driver

By Emily DennisA POLICE officer, who was in charge of driver training, is suing a van driver after he suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident.

By Emily Dennis

A POLICE officer, who was in charge of driver training, is suing a van driver after he suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident.

Sgt Stephen Freeman, 42, spent a week in intensive care and feared he might never walk again after the crash on the A144 at Ilketshall St Lawrence, near Bungay, just over three years ago.

A High Court writ reveals Sgt Freeman, of Church Farm Road, Bramfield, near Halesworth, is suing Guy Stapleton, whom he claimed caused the crash, and Mr Stapleton's employers for compensation.

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Sgt Freeman, who was off duty at the time, alleges he was thrown off his motorcycle and into a fence, a metal post and a tree after a Ford Escort van, driven by Mr Stapleton, pulled across his path while turning right.

The writ claims Sgt Freeman's motorcycle, which was travelling at 60mph in the opposite direction, was only 10 metres from the van and he was unable to avoid the accident on February 22, 2000.

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He is suing Mr Stapleton, of Sirdar Road, Ipswich, and his employers, TC Aerials, of Ipswich, for compensation.

According to the writ, Sgt Freeman saw his leg bent at a right angle, his foot dangling and bones sticking out, while he waited 50 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

"Without trying to over-dramatise what happened, it was pretty horrific and I was conscious throughout it all," said Sgt Freeman.

"It just goes to prove that no matter how much training you do, you can never prepare yourself for every situation.

"When it happened, I really thought that was it. I am a very determined sort of chap and I have tried to re-build my life, but I will never be able to forget this."

The father-of-two spent a week in intensive care and might need more surgery in the future.

The writ claims Sgt Freeman could not return to work until nine months later, has missed out on opportunities for promotion and may not be able to continue his career in the police force.

It also claims he would have difficulty finding other employment because of his injuries and needed substantial help from his family.

The court will hear relations with Sgt Freeman's wife and children, now aged five and 12, have been affected and he and his wife separated in February 2002, two years after the accident.

Sgt Freeman said: "It would be nice to draw a line under what happened to me. While it is still going through the courts, I do not feel I can entirely move on from it."

TC Aerials' insurers are said to have admitted liability and the writ claims both the company and Mr Stapleton were negligent by failing to notice the motorcycle and in causing the accident.

No date has been fixed for the case. Neither TC Aerials nor Mr Stapleton were contactable for comment.

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