Police officer found guilty of dangerous driving
19 March 2009

A South Wales police officer has been jailed for 20 weeks after being found guilty of dangerous driving after a high speed crash in his patrol car.

Sergeant Craig Bannister was driving at speeds in excess of 120mph in what were described to the court as appalling weather conditions.

Bannister had been responding to an emergency call, but was ordered to stand down before the crash occurred. A black box recorder fitted to the car revealed that Bannister slowed to around 115mph before crashing. The car’s blue lights and sirens had been deactivated prior to the crash.

During the trial the court heard how motorway signs warned road users of surface water and that Bannister's patrol vehicle flew into the air after hitting standing water at over 100mph.

Speaking during the trial, recorder Peter Murphy QC told the officer: "You blatantly and deliberately chose to ignore the training you had. There is no way you could have reacted so as to avoid a collision."

In addition to the jail sentence, Bannister was ordered to retake his driving test.

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South Wales Police are conducting a misconduct hearing into the event.

George Barrow

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