A three day inquest has concluded at the Lancashire Coroner’s Court into the death of 51 year old James ‘Jimmy’ Edward Lee.
At around midnight on 7 August 2017, Jimmy was crossing Bolton Road near Blackburn City Centre when he was struck by a police car which was following an unrelated speeding vehicle. The police car was driving at speed without emergency lights or sirens in dark and rainy conditions. Unfortunately, Mr. Lee, passed away from his injuries on 9 August 2017.
In the Jury’s narrative, they stated that the police officer was driving 51 mph on a signposted 30 mph road prior to the collision and that she should have activated her lights beyond the point of Canal Bridge (shortly before the collision).
The police driver failed to make ground on the vehicle she claimed to be following when she had an opportunity to do so and continued to follow the vehicle at great speed despite having lost sight of it.
The Inquest showed that Lancashire Constabulary police officers could have taken actions to mitigate their risk to other road users. The driving officer made a conscious decision not to activate her emergency equipment to alert others to her presence and did not reduce her speed as she went into a busy area.
Evidence was given by a police expert that there was no detriment in the officers activating their lights and sirens and that Jimmy had a reasonable expectation that a vehicle travelling down the road that night would be going at the speed limit. If the officer had been going the speed limit, she would have avoided colliding with Jimmy.
Jimmy’s family stated:
Finally, 5 years after his death, we have got answers about how Jimmy died.
But we are still so furious about the decisions made by the police driver that night. We were shocked to find out that she did not turn on her emergency equipment not because she did not think about it but because she actively decided not to.
She made so many decisions that evening that led to Jimmy’s death. Jimmy had the right to expect that cars would be driving down the road properly that night. The police officer should have caught up with the car she was chasing and she should have stopped chasing the car when it became too dangerous. She should have slowed down to the speed limit and turned on her lights and sirens.
It would have taken the flick of a switch to save Jimmy’s life. Jimmy did not have to die that night. If the officer had made any decisions right, he would still be alive.
Jimmy was an ex-professional boxer. He had many friends and after retiring from his professional boxing career he coached young people at the local YMCA. We, along with the rest of the family and Jimmy’s friends, are still deeply saddened by his loss.
The family were represented by Daniel Cooper and Sila Akin of Imran Khan and Partners, and Charlotte Godber of QEB HW.
Please contact Sila Akin on email@example.com for further information.