A POLICE officer was driving his patrol car at nearly twice the legal speed limit, without his lights or sirens, when he hit and killed a 19-year-old student in Sheffield city centre, a court heard.
PC Rodney Craig Mills, aged 42, was driving back to his station before responding to a call when he struck Jamie Haslett on Broad Lane in October 2010.
Sheffield Hallam University student Jamie died at the scene from head injuries after being thrown onto the bonnet of the car, hitting the windscreen, and being thrown ‘a considerable distance’ into the air.
Nicholas Barker, prosecuting, told jurors at Bradford Crown Court that, one second before the collision, PC Mills was travelling at 58mph in a 30mph zone.
He was answering a call classed as ‘priority’, meaning it had a response time target of an hour, and was not using his lights or sirens.
Mr Barker said PC Mills did not see Jamie, who was running across the road, until less than a second before the impact. He began to brake only half a second before the collision, the jury heard.
PC Mills, of Mosborough, Sheffield, denies causing death by careless driving.
Mr Barker told the court: “The prosecution say that, at the time Jamie Haslett was struck by the car driven by PC Mills, the defendant was driving carelessly. The prosecution say he was going too fast, and there was not the need to travel at that speed - nearly twice the speed limit.
“Even if the defendant felt it necessary to travel in a speed in excess of 30mph there was a real and pressing need to utilise the warning devices he had available to him.
“It is the prosecution case he should have had the blue flashing lights and the sirens and flashing front lights, to alert other road users to his presence as a speeding road vehicle.
“Even if these warning lights caused a disturbance to others in their beds at night, his responsibility lay first and foremost to ensure safety.”
Jamie, who had been out drinking with friends, was returning to his student accommodation at around 3.45am on October 27.
At the junction of Broad Lane and Mappin Street, he began to run across the road to get to the other side. Mr Barker said: “He almost got to the other side.”
The court heard ‘experienced’ PC Mills had been a South Yorkshire Police officer since 2000 and served in the RAF for 12 years previously.
After the collision he stopped, and an ambulance arrived, but Jamie had suffered severe head injuries. A pathologist said he would have died instantly.
The trial continues.