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Whiplash compensation for crash officers

Animation showing pain in neck
14th May 2014

A banned driver injured two officers when he crashed a stolen car into a police vehicle, while twice over the drink drive limit, in events that could result in whiplash compensation.

According to local newspaper for the region, the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, police officers had to smash the driver’s window and use pepper spray to subdue Patrick Cawley, aged 27.

The officers took this action when the man tried to flee in a stolen car after attending a friend’s wedding.

Prosecution at Northampton Crown Court, said officers were in Barley Hill Road, Thorplands, Northampton, shortly before midnight on Saturday, October 1, when they spotted Cawley drive past in a stolen Vauxhall Vectra.

An officer tried to flag him down as he drove into Spellhoe Street, but the car was then seen speeding back towards him.
He said: "About 40 metres down the road, the car parked up and the officers approached. It was at this point the marked police car pulled into the road and they saw the vehicle driven by the defendant lurch towards them. It appeared the handbrake had not been disengaged."

The court heard Cawley’s car rammed into the off-side of the police vehicle at about 20mph, causing both officers neck and back whiplash injuries.

The police car also had to be recovered as it was no longer drivable, the court heard.

Mr McLernon said Cawley was only stopped when an officer managed to pull the keys from the ignition and he had to be pulled from the vehicle, sprayed with Parva and arrested.

A test revealed he had 85 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, more than twice the legal limit of 35.

It also emerged he was a serial banned driver having been jailed and disqualified for three years in December for similar offences, as well as in 2003, 2007 and 2008

Cawley, of Maidencastle, Blackthorn, Northampton, admitted driving while disqualified, drink driving, driving without insurance and aggravated taking of a vehicle. All these factors could help the officers win successful accident compensation.

Recorder Edward Hess, who jailed him for 16 months, also banned him from driving for another four years.
He says the defendant had "a very bad record indeed for driving offences."

Claire Howell, mitigating, said: "It was not his intention to hit the police car, he was trying to get away but because of the alcohol, his spatial awareness was not what it should have been." 

Posted by Bryony Flack-Crane