From Devon & Cornwall Police:
At 5.42 pm on Friday 8th January, 2021, two officers from the Forces’ Roads Policing Unit were helping a driver who had broken down on an unlit stretch of the A361 northbound carriageway at Landkey, North Devon. They were protecting the scene with the use of their marked BMW X5 with all its emergency lighting illuminated.
The officers had been at the scene for around 15 minutes when a Citreon C4, for reasons yet to be explained, suddenly collided with the rear of the police vehicle.
The officers, a Sergeant and a PC with extensive experience in roads policing, were stood at the nearside of the road in line with their training.
The force of the collision pushed the police vehicle into the nearside verge, and in doing so, it struck both officers.
The sergeant was thrown into the verge, suffering minor injuries, and the Constable ended up underneath the police vehicle, unconscious.
The Citreon rebounded into the opposite carriageway colliding with another vehicle which subsequently then collided with a further motorist.
The sergeant was able to help remove his colleague from under the police vehicle and he was conveyed to North Devon District Hospital for assessment.
The driver of the Citreon C4, a 77-year old female from Bideford was physically uninjured, but was taken to North Devon Hospital for observations as a precaution. Chief Superintendent Matt Lawler, Head of Specialist Operations for Devon and Cornwall Police said:
“I obviously spoke to both officers shortly afterwards, and am so relieved to say they were not more seriously injured. Both are now at home being supported by their families. This was a truly frightening experience for everyone involved, especially for the officer who regained consciousness whilst still lying underneath his own police vehicle, and I pay tribute to the courage and focus of his sergeant in coming to his aid. This highlights the dangerous role that our Roads Policing officers undertake every day on our behalf, and it’s obvious to say that this could easily have resulted in fatalities. It is a challenging, complex, and risky task to police our fast roads, and we should all be thankful for the dedication shown by our roads policing officers”.
The driver of the broken down vehicle was arrested at the scene on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, and investigations into the circumstances of the accident continue.
Officers will also be investigating their reasons for being out during Covid lockdown.
The Force would like to thank members of the public for their patience during the road closure that was necessary to facilitate both the investigation and the recovery of multiple vehicles.