Independent Police Complaints Commission
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Pursuit which resulted in death of teenager was proportionate IPCC investigation concludes

Police pursuit of a speeding car involved in a crash that caused the death of a teenage girl was justified and proportionate, an IPCC investigation has concluded.

On 9 August, 2016, a Volkswagen Golf crashed into a TV repair store after hitting a speed bump at 80mph while being pursued by a police car along High Town Road, Luton, Bedfordshire.

Passenger Wanessa Lewandowska, 15, sustained fatal injuries in the crash and died at the scene. A second passenger and driver Michael Fludgate fled the scene on foot.

Mr Fludgate was given an eight-year jail sentence for causing death by dangerous driving in September 2016.

During the investigation the IPCC spoke to witnesses, including Mr Fludgate, as well as consulting CCTV and recording equipment within the police vehicle.

The investigator was of the opinion that during the pursuit the officer maintained a significant gap between his vehicle and the Golf and at no point did the vehicles come into contact.

The investigation also looked at the actions of the officer following the crash.

The officer gave chase to the fellow passenger as he fled the scene before he checked the vehicle on his return and became aware Miss Lewandowska was still in the vehicle in a critical condition.

The investigator concluded this action was not according to correct policy but did not amount to misconduct as the officer was genuinely unaware Miss Lewandowska was in the vehicle when he initially gave chase.

IPCC operations manager Colin Dewar said: “This terrible crash caused the death of a teenage girl and my thoughts are with all those affected.

“The driver, Mr Fludgate, confessed to his crimes and is serving a long prison sentence.

“Our investigation has concluded that the officer who carried out the pursuit did so in accordance with police procedure.

“Although he left the scene to carry out further pursuit on foot before checking the welfare of anyone remaining in the vehicle, this action was considered not sufficiently incorrect that a panel could consider it to be misconduct.”


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