Police crash into wrong-way driver
Published 21/08/2014 | 11:16
Dramatic video footage revealing the moment a police car was forced to crash into a vehicle being driven the wrong way down a motorway has been released by West Midlands Police.
An officer is heard repeatedly shouting "He's gonna hit us" as the Honda Jazz speeds towards them at 50mph in the dark on the northbound carriageway of the M6 toll near Lichfield on Monday night.
The police dashboard camera then captures the moment the officers deliberately crash into the car, being driven by a 77-year-old man with dementia.
The police driver is heard telling his colleague: "I had to mate."
The officer replies: "I know you did, I know you did."
The police force has praised the bravery of the traffic officers for choosing to engineer the collision in order to prevent the car from hitting oncoming traffic.
The male driver, from Rowley Regis in the West Midlands, who had earlier been reported missing by his family, was not hurt in the crash. One of the officers suffered a minor injury.
Inspector Greg Jennings, force traffic manager, said: "Traffic officers are highly trained to make good decisions in difficult situations and a very challenging environment. These officers have kept their resolve in the face of a serious threat to ensure the safety of the public directly behind them.
"Thankfully the officers managed to stop the vehicle with only minor injury to one of them.
"The family of the Honda driver have thanked us for bringing the incident to a safe conclusion."
Inspector Mark Watkins, of Central Motorway Police Group, said the officers hit the side of the car in a manoeuvre usually used in pursuits, after weighing up the increasing danger to the other drivers on the road.
"It's a recognised pursuit tactic in order to bring incidents to a conclusion, and is only used if there's a risk to life," he said.
"That forced the car to stop, and it came to a halt in lane three."
He added that, after studying video of the incident, police estimated the other driver had been travelling at 50mph.
Mr Watkins added: "This was an extremely unusual situation where the driver of the car had shown no intention to stop travelling in the wrong direction.
"Traffic officers bravely took the decision to engineer a collision with the vehicle and I am sure that their selfless actions have prevented serious injury or worse to the driver and other motorists on the road."