Special constable so sorry for knocking over pedestrian

Man suffers broken ribs and knee caps.

A Special Constable driving a marked police van caused serious injuries to a pedestrian she struck when she hit the accelerator instead of the brake.

Michael Bird suffered broken ribs and two broken knee caps, leaving him unable to work for several months and facing a long period of rehabilitation.

Anna Elizabeth Gough, 39, of Ottery, expressed her deep regret when she appeared at Central Devon Magistrates’ Court in Exeter last week.

She admitted driving without due care and attention on Ottery’s annual carnival night and was fined �100 and ordered to pay court costs of �100 in addition to having her driving licence endorsed with three penalty points.

Magistrates heard Gough, who had an unblemished record as a Special Constable dating back over almost two decades, was looking for an offender, believed to have been involved in an incident of minor disorder, when the accident happened.

She was driving in the area of Gold Street before heading towards Brook Street.

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Joanna Pearce, prosecuting, said: “At the time, there were no blue lights. The van stopped in the middle of the road where there were a number of pedestrians.”

She said pedestrians were crossing the road when they heard “a lot of revving”. They claimed that, without warning, the van swung into Brook Street.

One of the male pedestrians was struck by the vehicle and “his head was poking out of the offside of the vehicle”. The vehicle continued to hit the side wall of a property before coming to a stop.

Ms Pearce added: “The defendant mistakenly pressed the accelerator, rather than the brake, which caused the vehicle to shoot forward.”

A jack had to be used to lift the vehicle before ambulance personnel were able to treat the victim.

Ian Wilson, defending, said: “She (Gough) caught a glimpse of people running away up Brook Street. As she was approaching, she may have come to a stop to glimpse at these people and decided late on, instead of carrying straight up the road, to turn right.

“To this day, she does not entirely understand how it happened. It is something she deeply regrets and is remorseful about.”

He added that, at the time of the incident, Gough was driving at very low speeds through the ‘narrow area’.

Gough said: “I would like to take this opportunity to apologise again to the family for the distress caused to them.

“I have had 19 years of unblemished service in the police force and I have always endeavoured to serve the community to the best of my ability.

“I am truly remorseful that, through my actions, it has caused such distress and suffering. I cannot apologise enough. This is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

The chairman of the bench, Edwina Bradshaw, said: “The bench is very aware of how emotional you feel. We are sure any punishment we give you would come second to the punishment you are giving yourself.

“We are obviously aware of the damage inflicted upon the pedestrian and the problems he is going to have in the future.”

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