A police officer who put on the blue lights of a marked police car to drive her colleague back to his own car - then ran a red light and smashed into another vehicle - today (Tuesday) dodged a driving ban.
Jennifer Jones admitted a charge of dangerous driving over the crash, which occurred in Arbroath town centre, an offence that normally carries an automatic road ban.
But she escaped with a fine and penalty points after her lawyers argued she would suffer exceptional hardship if she was disqualified from driving because her home life would suffer and she would no longer be able to work as a police response driver.
Forfar Sheriff Court heard how Jones’s colleague, PC Charles Demore, had been called by his wife because their six-week-old baby had fallen ill at their home in Dundee.
PC Jones drove PC Demore back to their station in Arbroath to drop off his kit and allow him to speak to his sergeant before going off-duty to attend to the family emergency.
He then got back in the marked car and they left the station to head to Monifieth, where PC Demore had parked his own car.
PC Jones switched on the car’s blue lights and ran a red light just 500 yards from the station.
At that point Susan Clark, 45, was turning out of the Brothock Bridge junction and went straight in to PC Jones’ path.
The collision saw Ms Clark’s Kia C’eed written off and the police Ford Focus sustain £8500 worth of damage.
Today, Jones claimed she had been “doing the right thing”.
Giving evidence during a special reasons proof hearing today, Jones said: “I assessed it and thought it was OK - I didn’t see that car.
“I clearly missed the vehicle. I should have been more cautious.
“I thought that baby was in a much worse situation than it was.”
Sheriff Gregor Murray asked: “Was it an emergency that arose in the course of police business?”
She said: “No.
“I thought I was getting my colleague to his unwell baby - I thought I was doing the right thing.”
Fiscal depute Robbie Brown told the court: “Ms Clark had her 15-year-old daughter in the car with her.
“The front of the complainer’s vehicle collided with the front near side wheel area of the police car.
“The police vehicle was shunted into the central reservation and collided with a bollard.
“The accused sustained an injury and was taken to Ninewells but discharged without treatment.
“The police vehicle sustained £8500 damage, while the Kia C’eed sustained £5000 damage and was written off.”
PC Demore earlier gave evidence to the hearing. He said: “I felt like we were going above 30mph - from my experience of driving that road it felt we were in excess of that.
“I was concerned when we approached the light but assumed PC Jones was aware of the situation.
“I had been called by my wife and was aware she had been on the phone to NHS 24 about our child, who was screaming in the background and had been for some time.
“I was going to assist when the crash occurred.
“After the collision I was taken by a colleague in another car back to my car, and they also had the blue lights on.
“I asked them to put them off as I’d already been in one incident that day and didn’t want another.”
Jones, 28, whose addresses was given as care of the Police Service of Scotland, pleaded guilty on summary complaint to a charge of dangerous driving committed on November 24 2014.
Sheriff Gregor Murray fined Jones £750 and imposed eight penalty points on her licence.