Car flew over teen's head

2009-03-23 00:00

Sixteen-year-old Joel Gray narrowly escaped death after a vehicle driven by a policeman flew over his head and landed in the front garden of his friend’s house in Jesmond Road on Saturday.

Joel said he was on his way home from playing soccer with a friend at around 2 pm on Saturday and was standing on the pavement in front of his friend’s house when he heard a tyres screech.

“At first I couldn’t see it because there was a tree blocking my vision but the next minute I saw the car skidding toward me.

“As it hit the kerb I tried to jump to the left, but it was split seconds away from me. The car flew right over my head. I didn’t wait for it to land, I just ran home to get help,” said Joel.

A witness who was driving a short distance behind the policeman described what he saw.

“The policeman was driving down Jesmond Road and I took notice because he was swinging the car left and right. He picked up speed and must have lost control because the next minute I saw his vehicle hitting the kerb and flipping over a young man’s head.”

The witness said that after the crash he and another witness ran to try and get the policeman out of the car.

“When we pulled the policeman out of his car, I noticed … he smelled of alcohol. I then went to fetch his son to come and assist him,” said the witness.

The policeman had injuries to his head, but video footage recorded by Joel’s brother Joshua, shows him refusing assistance from the paramedics who were called to the scene.

The Witness hopes to release this footage on its website once the policeman has appeared in court.

Joel’s parents said they received a case number only three days after the incident.

“My son nearly died and when I went to report the case at Alexandra police station they laughed at me,” said his mother.

“But one of the inspectors was very helpful and told us that the policeman was found to have been over the legal limit of alcohol.”

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan explained that in cases of suspected drunken driving, the suspect has to be taken to a district surgeon who takes a blood sample before any statement is taken or case opened.

Joel told The Witness that he is still in shock after the incident. He said that he hasn’t been able to sleep in two days.

“It is the worst feeling to know how close it was … Hardly anyone was on the road,” he said.

Police have confirmed that a case of driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless and/or negligent driving has been opened and is being investigated.

They also confirmed that an inspector, who is stationed at Alexandra Road, was released on bail and will appear in court on Thursday.

“The inspector was off duty and was driving his private motor vehicle at the time of the incident,” said Jeevan.

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