Police car hit pensioner during city chase on wrong side of road

The accident happened on London Road near the Playhouse. Picture: Google
The accident happened on London Road near the Playhouse. Picture: Google

A POLICE officer crashed his patrol car into a pensioner while driving on the wrong side of the road in Edinburgh, a court heard.

PC Paul McNabb was chasing a suspected attacker when he his car collided with Nicholas Flavin as the OAP crossed London Road.

McNabb claims he had his lights and sirens on as he drove on the opposite carriageway in pursuit of the suspect when he collided with Mr Flavin.

But the 72-year-old victim and his wife Ruth said the PC had failed to activate his lights and they “didn’t hear a siren” as they made their way towards the nearby Playhouse Theatre for an evening out last April.

Following the collision Mr Flavin, from Stow, was rushed to hospital where he spent two nights receiving treatment to his injuries including a broken foot.

The constable was chasing after an assault suspect who was fleeing on a bike when he made to the decision to overtake traffic and drive on the wrong carriageway leading to the collision with the pensioner.

McNabb is standing trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court accused of of driving without due care and attention by driving on the wrong side of the road and at excessive speed and colliding get with Mr Flavin at London Road, Edinburgh, on April 20 last year.

Giving evidence during the part-heard trial last month, Mr Flavin told the court he and his wife were in the capital for an evening out at the theatre and had parked nearby on London Road.

Mr Flavin, a retired company director, said: “I crossed the road carefully as there was a low sun - I was extra careful and made sure there was no traffic coming.

“I was almost over when I was hit by a car - it was a police car. I couldn’t believe it.

“I got hit on the right side of my torso.”

Mr Flavin added McNabb had been “helpful and sympathetic” in the moments afterwards and he spent two nights recovering at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Ruth Flavin, 62, told the court the theatre trip was a belated birthday gift and that she saw “the police car suddenly appeared coming down the road on the wrong side”.

Mrs Flavin, a retired teacher, said: “The driver saw my husband too late and he slammed on the brakes. He slid silently towards him.

“I didn’t notice the police car’s lights on and I didn’t hear a siren. But when the policeman got out of the car he said he had his emergency lights on.

“But I certainly wasn’t aware of them at the time.

“I could be 99 per cent certain there was no siren as he glided towards my husband. I remember the silence of it all.”

The court also heard evidence from witnesses who said the police car did have its lights and sirens on as McNabb, 42, drove onto the wrong carriageway.

Giving evidence on Friday, police road expert Inspector Vincent Fisher told the trial the vehicle’s onboard computer recorded McNabb driving at a top speed of 30mph prior to the collision and that the lights and sirens had been activated at some point.

But Inspector Fisher, 42, added he could not be certain that the sirens were on at the point of impact with the pensioner.

The trial in front of Sheriff Frank Crowe continues next month.