I know you're waiting for it, so here it is - the definitive post in defence of the U-turning cop.
Chill. I won't defend him too much. I think he should, and will be, charged with dangerous driving causing death. It's possible a manslaughter charge could be laid. At the very best, it will be careless driving causing death.
But there are some mitigating circumstances.
The motorcyclist that the officer was chasing was reportedly travelling 154 km/h. That's almost categorised as dangerous driving. If that is the case, then the officer had a duty to chase him.
The next question is whether a U turn should have been performed, especially on that stretch of road. The answer is plainly no. U turns are notoriously dnagerous manoeuvres and that part of the road seemd particulalry narrow, meaning a three point turn was required which would have kept the patrol car in the path of oncoming traffic for much longer.
Yet the option I heard someone discuss on the news tonight was that the officer could have driven 150 metres up the road and driven into a side road to perform the turn.
At 154 km/h the motorcyclist is almost a kilometre away by the time you get back to the chase. So the only real option is to complete the U turn. Tragically it was the wrong decision.
Police officers should never fight their training and instincts when faced with such situations. They are trained to catch people breaking the law. You can argue until you're blue in the face whether they should bother with speeding motorcyclists, but as I say 154 km/h is pretty quick, and if you ignore dangerous driving where do you draw the line?
And I don't doubt it was 154 km/h because I am sure the officer got the speed on radar and this will be the justification for completing the U turn. The PR thus far suggests so. But every km/h below 154 km/h, the justification diminishes.
The very sad thing in all of this is that the speeding motorcyclist was the dead man's good friend. It really will be tragic if his excessive speed was a causing factor in the accident.
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