High-speed crash police win driving bans appeal

Surveillance: Paul Salvesen.
Surveillance: Paul Salvesen.
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TWO South Yorkshire police officers disqualified from driving after a high-speed crash in which a schoolboy was seriously injured have had their driving bans overturned by an appeal court.

Anthony Perkins, aged 54, and 40-year-old Paul Salvesen both admitted careless driving after the M1 smash in April 2010 and were banned from driving for eight months.

Specialised: Anthony Perkins.

Specialised: Anthony Perkins.

But Perkins, who was also fined £500, and Salvesen, who was fined £400, challenged their bans at the Court of Appeal, with lawyers arguing they have been unable to carry out their roles as police surveillance drivers – highly-specialised officers with duties including covert surveillance of criminals and gangs.

The officers were prosecuted for a crash when they were both on duty in unmarked police cars.

During the original court case it emerged Salvesen, of Sheffield, was driving at about 90mph when his Seat smashed into a people-carrier, being driven by Fatima Zahoor, who was carrying five children.

The impact caused Ms Zahoor to ‘spin’ in the road and she was then struck by Perkins, also of Sheffield, who was also travelling at about 90mph in a BMW.

Ms Zahoo’s 11-year-old son was hurled from his seat and across two lanes of the motorway in the collision, leaving him with head injuries.

His mum, who had been travelling from London to Bradford, suffered a broken arm and Perkins, a detective constable, broke an ankle in the smash.

Mr Justice Nicol, sitting in London’s Appeal Court with Lord Justice Davis and Judge Stephen Kramer QC, said ‘mercifully neither he nor anyone else was killed,’ but agreed the officers should be allowed to drive again.

Mr Justice Nicol stressed the importance of a post-accident report indicating the collision would still have occurred even if the pair had kept to the 70mph speed limit.

Announcing the judgement, he told the court: “It cannot be said these collisions were the result of these officers driving at excessive speed.”

On overturning the driving ban, the judge imposed five penalty points on each of the police officers’ licences.