Police car driver gets suspended sentence after crash in Poplar injures seven

Police patrol car crash at Polar in 2014 [photo: Kaysar Ahmed/@specialist0027]

Police patrol car crash at Polar in 2014 [photo: Kaysar Ahmed/@specialist0027] - Credit: Kaysar Ahmed

A police patrol-car driver who crashed into a motorbike at red traffic lights causing seven injuries—including pedestrians—has been given a 15-month suspended sentence.

Lee Drake, 52, a serving officer in the Met’s Tower Hamlets police division in east London, appeared for sentencing today at Southwark Crown Court after being found guilty at his trial last month on two charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, having only admitted a charge of careless driving.

His sentence has been suspended for 18 months and he has also been banned from driving for 30 months and fined £4,200.

The conviction follows an investigation by the Met’s internal Serious Collision Investigation unit and the Directorate of Professional Standards.

Det Con Adam Whitehall, from the Directorate of Professional Standards, said after today’s sentencing: “This outcome is a reminder of the expectations the public holds on police drivers.

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“Drake’s driving fell below the standards expected by the Met and the public.”

Pc Drake was responding to an automatic number plate recognition activation in Cotton Street on June 5, 2014, when he went through red traffic lights at the junction with Poplar High Street and hit the motorbike.

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The crash caused the 27-year-old bike rider life-threatening head injuries, but he later recovered and was discharged from hospital.

Flying debris from the collision also injured four pedestrians and damaged a safety barrier at the T-junction. The pedestrians, all men, were also taken to hospital, with two seriously hurt.

Drake and another officer in the police car with him were treated for minor injuries.

He had the flashing blue lights on, but no sirens, and “hadn’t followed the correct procedure” for going through a red light, the investigation found.

Pc Drake, 52, remains on restricted police duties, which is now being looked into, Scotland Yard confirmed today. He is undergoing an internal Met Police misconduct process now criminal proceedings have been completed.

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