Series following Britain's traffic police. In North Yorkshire, there's a major investigation following a collision that has left a motorcyclist critically injured.
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North Yorkshire, the largest county in England and Wales -
from seaside resorts like Scarborough to the historic city of York.
It just offers you everything that policing could offer you.
You work the cities, you work the rural areas.
6,000 miles of some of Britain's most scenic
and most unforgiving roads.
We've got three casualties of the vehicle that's there in front of us.
The traffic cops here deal with among the highest number
of serious collisions per person than anywhere in the UK.
Roundabout, the wrong way, wrong way.
Come back here! Hey!
It doesn't really matter.
Occasionally, people blow, don't they?
A roadside haul...
I'd say there's maybe about a kilo and a half in weight in there.
And a major investigation into a tragic accident.
The update that I've just got over the radio as well
from the hospital is that there is now a fatal accident.
Welcome to North Yorkshire,
a vast area stretching the traffic cops to the limit.
Covering 3,200 square miles,
North Yorkshire's traffic cops have the biggest beat in England.
Coordinating the cops on the road is the Force Control Room in York.
Yeah, do you want to pass details on?
This centre receives and processes all calls to North Yorkshire Police,
around 900 every 24 hours.
The pressure is on Controllers like Dave Hopkinson to
maximise police resources.
You've always got things running through your mind.
Most of the time it's "Where's my nearest unit?
"What units do I need there?
"What areas do I need to consider closing off?"
Trying to think one step ahead, so you're constantly looking at the bigger scenario.
It's 5pm and 15 miles north,
TC Steve Kiwi Gardner of the North Yorkshire Road Policing Group
is at Harrogate police station at the start of a shift.
An urgent call comes through from the Force Control Room.
Come in, urgent.
It's a report of a collision involving a motorcyclist on the A59,
five miles west of town.
The complicating factor is it's on a stretch of road closed
due to an earlier accident.
It sounds like a knock-on effect from the traffic
congestion from that bump has caused another RTA further back,
involving a motorcyclist who is now unconscious.
The road is a major arterial route east to west between Harrogate
Um, there is no alternative route.
It does sound serious at this point in time.
We're really fortunate to live in a rural county
and some of the roads in our county have a major
attraction to motorcyclists from all over the country.
These long country roads are also badly affected by the elements.
The weather conditions are really deteriorating right now
and it's going dark very, very quickly, so it makes you
wonder why a motorcyclist goes out in these conditions.
Kiwi knows just how dangerous bad weather can be for bikers.
Being a motorcyclist myself, yeah, it's scary.
Very, very wet roads, um, heavy downpours -
motorcycles don't have any protection at all.
So once you're involved in a bump,
if it involves a motorcyclist, it's potential serious.
He arrives to find a local police team already on the scene.
Er, we've got people already closing the road here. That's great.
As the only available traffic officer,
it falls on Kiwi's shoulders to begin the investigation.
My role initially is almost a management role.
The police take control of any scene,
no matter what other emergency services are there.
Kiwi receives an update from one of the first officers to
arrive at the scene, a local firearms cop.
-There's another accident that way, is there?
-Yeah, we've been to that one.
-What's the status of that one?
-They're all right.
-They got minor injuries or anything?
-Yeah, minor injuries.
-A bit of a back injury.
Then that one came and you got this one shouted and the paramedics came across to us
and said the information they've got is the bike's had a right big clout and is possibly fatal,
-so that's why we've come to this one straightaway.
The rider in is in a critical condition.
I could see oxygen bottles there and I knew that that was not a place for me to be.
They had that under control.
We've got two ambulances at scene.
Looks like the casualty's just entering one at the moment.
Likely to prove the full callout, please.
Full callout is what we use for Collision Investigation Unit,
to have them to the scene.
It sort of ups the ante, really, on our investigation.
This severely damaged motorbike will be a key piece of evidence.
It is a Triumph Daytona, er, 575 triple.
Can you do a postcode check and see that it's registered to that address? Over.
We have a term in our job
we call the golden hour and in the first hour after an accident,
we can actually gather a lot of evidence.
Each accident scene that we attend are entirely different
and there are clues left at the scene, like a...
like a crime scene that you might see on a movie.
Another vital piece of evidence will be
the testimony from the driver of the car the motorcycle hit.
Does anyone know where the driver of this Honda is, please?
-In the car - that way?
-In the van.
-In the van. OK.
-Can you tell us what happened?
The husband of the lady driving the silver Honda was driving this blue van with his wife following behind.
They'd been asked to pull over by the police because of the accident ahead.
After waiting for some time, they tried to do a U-turn in the road.
As they did so, the bike collided with the Honda.
Both husband and wife claim the bike had no lights on.
At that point, um, my ears pricked up to the gentleman telling me
that the motorcycle approached with no lights on.
Most motorcycles run with the headlights on full-time
and it's impossible to turn them off.
As well as investigating the couple's claim that the bike's
light was off, Kiwi also needs to establish
if the driver should have seen the rider prior to the impact.
The driver says she indicated and checked the road was clear in both
directions but as she made a U-turn, the rider appeared from nowhere.
Everyone sees an accident differently.
They describe things differently and they judge speeds differently.
But to get that initial account is important to me.
Can you find that lorry driver?
Can you find where he was when the accident happened?
-The bike overtook him.
-He is a cracking witness, then.
We need all his details and we want the statement tonight if we can.
Now Kiwi has to piece together the facts behind the collision
and whether anyone WAS at fault.
Back in the Force Control Room in York,
the collision is one of many incidents being handled tonight.
As well as coordinating the police response,
Controller Dave Hopkinson also tracks the movements of known criminals.
He monitors information from the county's many automatic
number plate recognition - or ANPR - cameras.
ANPR is a very good piece of kit that we've got.
There's various cameras plotted throughout the Force.
They will read every numberplate of vehicles that go past.
If there's a vehicle that is of interest to ourselves,
that will flag up on my computer system here.
From there, I can then read the numberplate, see the information
held on it and pass it out to the other officers in the area.
TC Martin Hayes of North Yorkshire Roads Policing Group
is on patrol near Wetherby, when ANPR flags up a wanted vehicle.
Martin is one of the nearest units.
There's intelligence regarding that vehicle
that it may be involved in a theft from the Leeds area.
It's a silver Volkswagen Caddy van.
ANPR is probably one of the best pieces of equipment to come out
in the last few decades.
The key thing for us is to get there is quickly as possible,
to apprehend any offenders but also prevent them
from destroying or disposing of any evidence.
Martin transferred from the Metropolitan Police to the
North Yorkshire Force ten years ago.
When I was telling people I was moving to North Yorkshire,
I was abused for going off to deal with badger baiting,
sheep rustling and carrot theft.
But there's more to this patch than rural crime.
There's an undercurrent of criminality that most normal
people will never see but it's out there on the roads,
and that's what we're out trying to catch.
Martin joins the A(M) south of Wetherby,
at least two miles from where the van was last spotted.
It's at the point now where the A1 splits,
so it's going towards the M1 towards Leeds.
Ah, there he is.
A police Land Rover is already on the van's tail.
MUFFLED RADIO CONTACT
When challenged to stop,
the driver in front of the Land Rover puts his foot down.
It's quite clear from his actions that he has no intention of stopping
for us, and for all intents and purposes, we're now into a pursuit.
As the runaway driver's speed rapidly increases, so does the
risk of it causing a collision.
We were certainly 100 miles an hour plus, I think, by this point.
Martin takes over as the lead vehicle.
There's all sorts going on in your mind at the time.
First and foremost, is there is a sense of danger
but we're trained to drive at that speed.
The idea is to prevent him getting off the motorway network,
to keep him on the biggest, widest road we possibly can,
away from as many members of the public as we can.
The last place we want him going is into town.
The van veers onto the hard shoulder.
What he's doing there is extremely dangerous.
If there is an unlit broken-down vehicle further along that road,
at the speed he was travelling at, the results would be catastrophic.
Has he just thrown something out?
He appears to have thrown something out, possibly at junction 42, 41.
-'Are you still there?'
-Yeah, I'm lead vehicle, single crew, TPAC trained.
Safe to continue. Can we have authority for TPAC, please?
TPAC, or Tactical Pursuit And Containment,
is a strategy to try and box the van in and bring it to a stop.
But then - roadworks.
Motorways are always a dangerous place
but now we're down to one lane, plus the hard shoulder.
The danger level is increased greatly.
My concern at that point was
do I have to consider calling this off now?
In the last ten years,
194 fatalities have occurred during police pursuits.
Martin continues his pursuit and when the lanes
open out again, the van looks for an escape route.
Pursuit monitored. It's junction 44.
It's off, off, off to A639 towards Leeds.
Roundabout ahead, three options.
Now heading off the motorway,
what the driver does next is even more dangerous.
Roundabout, runway, runway.
Onto the dual carriageway, standby.
'Their focus is on getting away
'and they'll do anything at their means to do so.'
Without a doubt, the consequences of a head-on collision at dual
carriageway speeds, it's guaranteed there would be a fatality in that.
With Martin under pressure to continue the pursuit without
putting anyone else at risk...
..on the A59 west of Harrogate, TC Steve Kiwi Gardner is dealing with
the aftermath of a major collision that's left a young motorcyclist
Paramedics are taking the biker for further treatment to hospital.
So how do I feel?
It's sad but it's also something that as a traffic officer,
you've got to try and contain those feelings and move on.
We have to have an internal mechanism that will, um,
try and preserve and protect our own sanity,
our own well-being for our families' sakes, anyway.
Sometimes it's more difficult than others.
The biker hit the Honda doing a U-turn
and despite the claim that the bike had no lights on,
it's unclear who, if anyone, is to blame for the collision.
The questions that we need to ask as investigating officers now is
was the motorcyclist there to be seen,
and was the driver turning round, cut straight in front
of the motorcyclist, or was the motorcyclist wearing dark
clothing without a light on, in dusk, and not there to be seen?
That's our number one role, is to produce evidence to see
if anybody's done anything wrong.
Most accidents involve um, someone making an error, so it's our job to
find out which driver made the error and how severe was that error.
Kiwi needs witnesses to help establish exactly what's happened.
Did you see anything?
The witness tells him that they
spotted the bike ten minutes earlier driving at high speed.
You're fantastic witnesses.
We want you to stay here for the meantime, if you can, please.
Please. Thank you very much.
We've found three separate witnesses now, that have seen the
motorcyclist at some point, um, but further before the accident scene.
And they've all stated that he's been going flat out.
As Kiwi talks to the witnesses,
Forensic Collision Investigator Steve Kirkbright arrives.
I'd finished duty for the day.
Because of the nature of our Force and the size of the area,
we also do an on-call system.
I'd gone home, I'd taken the dogs out for a walk.
I think we were just at the point of discussing
what we were going to do for tea and the phone went.
Steve's served 30 years in North Yorkshire Police,
including 14 as a crash investigator,
dealing with serious road incidents across the county.
His job is to bring a methodical approach to investigating the crash scene.
My mother would tell you that logic, puzzles
and things like that have always been a fascination to me.
I'm turning up at the end of an event
and I have to work backwards through time.
I might take over 100 photographs - the damage to the cars,
the position the vehicles are in,
where the casualty came to rest,
marks on the road surface, tyre marks,
scrape marks, where the glass has ended up out of the car -
we'd form conclusions from factual evidence.
What are you thinking?
The bike's gone over the top. The bike's gone sideways.
-So it is a...
-There's no scrapes to where the bike goes.
And there's nothing across the verge for the rider.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah, OK.
-The bike's gone over the top.
What angle are you putting the car on, then, in the turn,
-do you think?
-All of that?
It's the other side window, yeah?
Here. Right, OK.
So it's an angular blow, it's not a direct hit? Yeah.
This A road has been closed for more than four hours,
causing major disruption between Harrogate and Skipton.
It can be a difficult thing for the public to understand,
when they're sat in a tailback on a diversion but there is a responsibility.
We will take our time.
At best, I tend to deal with conditions that involve
life-changing injuries. At worst, people are dead.
We will apply as much resources and skill as if somebody had been murdered.
Shaun's going to jack up road closure.
-And we'll have to reconstruct...
-Do some timings for that.
Like we did on that last one.
-Bring that unmarked BMW and work it out.
OK, nice one.
When Steve has gathered the evidence he needs,
everything from the crash scene will be removed.
It's too early to give a full picture of what's happened.
We'll do a full mechanical examination of the three vehicles involved,
the blue van, the Honda and the motorcycle,
check that there is no defects with any of them,
do a reconstruction of the line of damage, and see what the
motor vehicles tell us towards the story of what's happened here tonight.
With the collision team in control of the scene,
Kiwi's focus now turns to the driver,
who needs to provide a formal interview back at the station.
If you're feeling unwell at any point in time,
just let us know, won't you?
Obviously, you've been through a massive shock today.
'She is very, very traumatised. In shock, almost.'
If you don't feel well, just let me know, all right?
'She's in absolute pieces.'
Total concern for the other rider.
That's quite common with people I deal with.
They're always asking for updates on the welfare of the other
The driver's account will be key in determining the events that
led up to the collision.
15 miles south, PC Martin Hayes is still pursuing a wanted van
heading out of North Yorkshire towards Leeds.
It's at B648 towards Leeds.
Stand by for direction at next roundabout.
The van dumps something on the motorway and desperate to escape,
the driver is becoming increasingly reckless as he races into the city.
He sailed through a red light like it wasn't even there.
All he cares about is getting way.
Romeo 1-8 is now the lead vehicle.
Martin may have support in place but during a high-speed pursuit,
it's his judgement that counts.
There is an element of the thrill of the chase
but you have to be aware of any possibility of what
we refer to as red mist setting in,
where the pursuit becomes a personal challenge between you and the
vehicle you're chasing, and safety becomes a secondary concern.
That's when you should be stopping.
In the mazy outskirts of the city, Martin and the other
pursuing cops are in danger of losing their target.
He's given us the slip and we've somewhat lost him.
It is the proverbial needle in a haystack now.
The cops have lost the van but the trail has not gone cold.
There's still whatever was dumped on the motorway.
I do believe that would explain the failure to stop.
Likewise, I'm going to depart Leeds and head back to North Yorkshire.
Back at base, Martin meets TC Smith,
who was in the Land Rover during the chase.
He has quite a haul.
I would say there's probably...
Probably a kilo and a half in weight in there, roughly speaking.
I would think that some had blown into the grass, but that's
what was down the hard shoulder and running to the gully, so...
I've used my best talents as Mrs Mop and picked it all up.
Have you got a bag for this
because this is the box that stinks of cannabis.
It was a good result to take that amount of drugs off the street.
Rough value, I think,
is somewhere in the region of £5,500 to £6,000, possibly more.
The cannabis and the box are important evidence that could
lead to the van driver.
With it being sort of shiny cardboard,
there's a fairly good prospect of getting some fingerprints off it.
That would be the ideal.
News comes in that the van has been found abandoned in Leeds.
There should be enough forensic evidence to link
somebody to the vehicle and with the footage from our cars, hopefully
we have enough evidence there to prosecute them
for driving offences, drug offences...
Who knows what else we might find?
If you could remove drugs from the equation,
you would remove a large portion of crime.
Most crime is committed by people who are doing so
to fund a drug habit.
While the van driver escapes justice tonight,
this is a case that won't end here.
The job doesn't stop now, just because the pursuit's over.
There's inquiries that can be made to trace people that
were in the vehicle and that's the main thing for us, really.
The pursuit's over, but those inquiries now commence.
17 miles north-west at Harrogate Police Station,
TC Steve Kiwi Gardner is continuing his investigation
with the driver of a car
involved in a serious collision with a motorbike.
While the driver waits to be interviewed,
control room staff pass on some tragic news.
The update that I've just got over the radio as well
from the hospital is that there's now a fatal accident.
Kiwi's investigation has become even more serious.
There's a possibility that the driver of the car has
committed an offence of driving without due care and attention,
but now that the motorcyclist has died, that offence ramps
straight up to death by driving without due care and attention.
So it's quite a serious offence.
Well, it is an extremely serious offence.
Two factors will determine whether or not the rider was clearly
visible - the motorcycle's speed and whether its lights were on.
There's no way you can ride a motorcycle without a headlight.
And they both said that there was no headlight on the bike.
It might be the case that when she started to turn
and she looked down the road, the motorcycle wasn't there
because it was going so fast,
it was actually over the brow of the hill, around the corner.
It is also possible that she were following her husband,
who's had that same turn, she's more looking at what he's doing
and where he's going, than looking down the road at a motorcycle
coming towards her very quickly.
In our job, there's no more important investigation than
to be able to account to a family how and why their loved one died.
I feel sorry for both parties.
I feel sorry for a family, now,
that's got to suffer that bereavement. And I feel sorry for,
you know, what seems like a split second in her life,
is now going to have a knock-on effect for the rest of her life.
-I need to caution you, OK, before we start.
And that is that you do not have to say anything,
but it may harm your defence if you do not mention,
when questioned, something which you may later rely on in court.
Anything that you do say may be given in evidence.
We're constantly monitoring her signs, her speech.
If she took any downturn whatsoever, we would stop the interview
and continue it another day.
The key question for Kiwi, now,
is could the driver have seen the bike before she decided to U-turn?
The driver insists she looked in both directions
and it was clear as she crossed the road.
Then she describes the rider looming into vision from out of nowhere.
And the sound of the collision.
I know that road very, very well
and I was very aware that that was a straight
piece of road and, so, while she's describing her U-turn, it became
a worry to me that she couldn't see a motorcyclist coming towards her.
That makes sense.
I don't think I have any further questions, at this time.
It's been an extremely traumatic night.
Tomorrow, the collision investigation team will
determine whether the driver could and should have seen the bike.
North Yorkshire stretches over 100 miles,
from the Pennine Hills in the west, to the North Sea coast in the east.
To cover such a vast area,
many of the traffic cops here work single crewed.
It's 11am and TC Mark Gonella, of Scarborough Roads Policing
Group, is on patrol in the county's biggest coastal town.
Scarborough's built up on a community of people,
people that have lived in this area for years.
It's a beautiful area.
Last Sunday, you could drive along the seafront in Scarborough
with the sun rising, you know, how lucky am I?
I wouldn't change it.
At 11.15, York control room receives a report of a collision
in the Barrowcliff housing estate, on the edge of Scarborough.
Yeah, do you want to pass the details on?
Mark is the nearest officer.
What've you got?
Yeah, I can start heading that way, I'm not far.
It appears that a vehicle
has possibly crashed into a stationary car.
And there was some talk of the driver may well have
been on his phone at the time.
Across the UK,
one in three accidents happen within a mile of home.
In such a residential area,
it's possible that someone involved will live close by.
Mark arrives to find neighbours moving a car to the
side of the road.
His job is to find out if anyone's at fault.
Right, this may well be it.
Hello! Are you involved?
-Where are you going, are you the driver?
-Are you driver? Can you come back? Hang on!
No, no, not two seconds. Hey! Come back here!
-No, my husband was in the car with me.
-Right, OK, you were driving?
-Yeah, yeah, well,
I don't want you running off while I want to talk to you.
No, I was just getting my husband, because he was sat in the car with me.
'The initial thought for me is, I hardly ever go to an accident where
'I've got someone running away from the scene, specifically, the driver.
'That's the alarm bells for me.'
'What's this person hiding?'
Why do they want to get away? Should they have been driving?
It seems the driver has bumped another car, just outside her home.
-Is this your car, is it?
-Are there any witnesses to what happened?
-We were all witnesses.
What I'll do, I'll get you...
-Can you just sit in my car for two seconds?
Just one of you witnesses, can I just have one of you, please?
All of a sudden,
an irate husband adds to the chaos Mark has to deal with.
What's going on with all this?
Right, don't come down here and start having an attitude with me.
-I'm not having an attitude, all these people and all these cameras.
-OK, all right.
-Do you know what I mean?
-Were you in the car?
-I'll speak to you in a minute.
-I want to speak to the driver of the car.
-First, all right?
He's agitated, isn't he? I've got to try and keep him calm, because you don't know
how he's going to react, what's he going to do?
I don't want you getting excited.
-I'm not excited, obviously, it's just...
-Is that your house up there?
Why don't you go up there and I'll come and talk to you in a minute.
-Come and sit yourself in here, all right?
Don't press any of my buttons.
Finally, Mark can get an account from one of the bystanders.
Did you witness it?
-She was coming down here.
The lady's car, here, was, basically, on the road, here.
-Did you see why it skimmed it, why it hit it?
I think the car did move a little bit like that,
a bit off-balance, so...
-Right, was she doing anything in the car?
-No, no, no. Just normal.
-You saw the driver?
-Cos someone said she was on her phone.
-No, no, she wasn't.
-No driver on the phone?
-No, no, no.
-I saw it, as clear as day. She was on no phone.
You pop over there, I'll have a chat with this young lady.
-Hey up, right.
-Basically, I was just north driving...
And I don't know, I don't know what happened, it just bumped that car.
But why did you just bump that car?
There's got to be a reason that you bumped it.
I must've been too close.
How did you not see the car on the road?
Well, I did see it, but I was checking that side as well,
cos there was kids on the side of the road.
I was looking out of that mirror.
-Cos there was kids on the road and, obviously...
There's something about the driver's account that isn't ringing
true with Mark.
Most people I deal with, they know what's happened, the story
sort of flows and she's putting too much thought into it for me.
I think I'm taking it with a pinch of salt at that time.
-I'll be honest, someone said that you were on the phone.
-I wasn't on the phone.
-Were you on your phone at the time of the collision?
-No, I wasn't on my phone.
-Have you got your phone with you?
-My phone's there.
My phone's been on charge in the car, I've just unplugged it.
So, were you doing anything with your phone?
I wasn't doing anything with my phone.
My son's just phoned my daughter to say, obviously,
I won't be going, cos of what's happened.
-And who did you ring before that?
-That's my husband.
He was sat in the back and my husband was sat in the front.
So, why did he phone you?
To... Obviously, cos of my daughter.
I was going to see my daughter.
-Right, but he was in the car with you?
It's unravelling, you know, as she's talking.
She's not thinking quickly enough to try and cover her tracks
and there's a lot of questions, now, running round in my head.
Why would he phone you, if he was in the car with you?
No, cos he got out the car.
After I'd bumped it.
It doesn't ring right, does it?
Well, that's what happened.
Unable to establish if the driver was on the phone,
Mark suspects she may have been committing other offences.
I think police officers join the police
because they're that way inclined.
You're nosey, you want to ask questions, you want to find
things out, go slightly under that surface and dig that much deeper.
-Have you got a driving licence?
-I've got a provisional.
Right, OK, where are your L-plates?
In the boot.
-Has your partner got a full UK driving licence?
-He's fully comp.
-Was he supervising you then?
-And you're on the insurance?
-No, I'm not, no.
-So you're not insured either?
I've got to caution you that you do not have to say anything,
but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned,
something which you later rely on in court
and anything you do say may be given in evidence.
It's estimated that, every year, 35,000 learner
drivers are prosecuted for not displaying L-plates.
It's important that you put L-plates on a car,
because everybody else, then, knows you're a learner driver.
Everybody else treats you with that little bit more understanding,
The driver's husband has returned to his damaged car.
Can you not drive it?
Don't drive it for us, mate.
Can I just have the ignition keys?
-Have you got your keys?
-Yeah, I've got them.
-OK, can I have the keys?
-I'll just put them away.
-No, no, no, come here.
-They're my keys.
-Right, come here.
-They're my keys.
-Yeah, I will, let me...
851, can I have another unit, please?
-But they're my keys.
-Right, listen to me.
OK, I'm not going to argue with you.
I'm not going to argue with you, I'm just saying, they're my keys.
And I'm not going to get stupid, all right?
-Were you driving that...
-It's my property.
-Listen to me.
-Yeah, I am listening, but...
-I'm in order, but I could do with a unit, please.
-I understand what you're saying.
Policing in North Yorkshire is very different to Manchester or the Met.
You haven't got that backup, maybe 20 seconds, a minute away,
so, maybe, that's why I deal with people in a different way.
-What I don't want to do...
-Yeah, I know.
-Hang on, hang on.
-What I don't want to do... At the moment, we're down here.
-I don't want us to end up, up there.
-Yeah, it escalates.
-I want to inspect the car.
-I need to check the car.
-I want the keys.
You're not going to wander off with the keys.
-You've just tried starting it...
He's excitable, he's upset.
The last thing I want is fighting with people.
60 miles southwest, TC Steve Kiwi Gardner, of the Road Policing
Group, is patrolling the A61, between Harrogate and Ripon.
Yeah, thank you.
Yeah, I'm a born and bred Kiwi.
I was in the police in New Zealand, that's where I started my career.
There's not a great deal of difference in police in New Zealand.
We wear a very similar uniform, a lot of our case law
is from British courts, so we have a lot of similarities.
Except for the weather.
It's 1.30pm and a call comes in.
The sergeant's just shouted up, Paul Cording.
He's trying to get a car stopped just in the next village
along from here. And it's failing to stop for him.
At this point in time, we don't know why.
But we're actually quite local for it.
I'm just trying to picture where he is at the moment.
The words "failed to stop" prick up any traffic officer's ears.
I listened to the location and realised, very quickly, that we
were within a close proximity of that "fail to stop" vehicle.
Just two miles east, Sergeant Paul Cording
of North Yorkshire Roads Policing Group
is in pursuit of the fleeing Vauxhall.
Paul had spotted the car a few moments earlier
and signalled it to stop.
I only wanted to speak to the driver about his speed.
And one thing's led to another.
Why he's failing to stop at this stage,
that's the million dollar question.
Making his way to the area, Kiwi listens in on the police radio,
planning to cut the driver off at the next village.
As Kiwi listens to Paul's updates, it's soon apparent there's
something very odd about this countryside chase.
Unusually, for this type of pursuit, the speeds were quite low.
This chap's slowing down for all of the junctions, taking a wide berth
with a pedestrian jogger, he's not actually doing anything dangerous.
Moments later, the driver suddenly slows to a stop.
'I pulled up to the near side of this vehicle,
'made eye contact with the driver, he was indicating to me that he
wasn't going to stop and he wasn't going to get out of his vehicle,
by some mouthed words and gesticulations with his hands.
It was a little bit of a strange one.
As the car sets off again, Paul stays on the driver's tail,
while Kiwi's playing catch-up.
This is the village of Stavely now, where he was two villages ago.
Copgrove's one mile away from where we are, he's only just gone
We're about a mile behind him now.
cycle, off-duty, around this area, so I know all the little back roads.
And I'm trying to picture the direction the sergeant's
travelling in, so that I can either get ahead of him
with a stinger or I can assist him with a boxing in.
That's not good.
The fact that he was going towards Copgrove,
he's obviously done a big loop.
So, I've been trying to play catch-up,
he's actually come back round, behind us.
It's the most bizarre pursuit I think I've ever been involved in.
'This driver is just playing games with us here.'
With the runaway driver now on his second lap of the area,
other units have been called in to assist.
Kiwi's headed towards the location, but he's half a loop behind us.
We've just come from down there, he's just come through here.
Oh, you're joking!
Argh, I can't believe we've had to loop back round again.
It's completely cat and mouse at the moment.
We've got, now, three vehicles, all in different locations,
all about a mile apart.
I can't believe it.
Driving round in circles.
'By this point, I was completely frustrated, because I'm'
turning around and playing catch-up again, so the distance is widening.
At last, Kiwi catches sight of the Vauxhall.
He's at the bottom of this hill now.
He's over there.
But, as he reaches the scene...
..Paul and the other pursuing vehicles have made the arrest.
Actually, mate, whoever was following me,
I wasn't trying to outrun you,
I was letting you keep up and we were just playing a game. Big deal.
Right, this is what I've got to say, you're under arrest
on suspicion of failing to stop and also dangerous driving.
When you stopped me, it wasn't failure to stop,
you'd actually stopped me where I live.
I just thought I'd take you on a wild goose chase.
Good fun, though. Not bad.
'It was a needless pursuit, almost as if it were a game.'
Which, for me, is a ridiculous statement,
cos it could quite easily put people's lives at risk.
For no apparent reason.
The question the cops need to answer now, is why?
60 miles east, traffic cop Mark Gonella has questions of his own,
dealing with a minor collision on an estate in Scarborough.
The driver has a provisional licence,
but wasn't showing L-plates. She has no insurance
and is claiming her husband was in the car supervising.
-I'm investigating a collision.
-Well, a scrape, yeah.
-Nothing significant, but...
-It's an accident.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
We don't want to get silly about it.
Mark has his hands full trying to calm the driver's husband down.
-At the moment, I don't think she's insured to be driving that car.
And I don't think she's got a driving licence that allows
-her to drive the car.
-Yeah, she does have a provisional.
Yeah, exactly, so she shouldn't be driving it without L-plates on.
So, at the moment, no insurance, no licence.
-I want to chat to her.
-It's not the end of the world, all right?
Right, can I go, officer, please?
You're going to go in the house, aren't you? All right,
I'm going to come and see you in there in a minute,
once I'm finished with your young lady.
The backup Mark requested arrives.
And they're here, brilliant, thank you.
Cheers, mate. Husband's just a bit of a silly one.
Could just do with one...
I don't need three, but just one hanging around,
just in case he comes out and decides he wants to be a silly boy.
With the husband in the house and backup on the scene,
Mark can get to the bottom of the driver's story.
It seems really odd to me that you've had a collision here,
-30 metres from your house, you've phoned
That seems odd, to phone someone that's in the car with you.
The scenario at the moment is you're driving otherwise than in accordance
with the licence, because you haven't got L-plates on the car.
You've got no insurance, cos you're not on the insurance policy.
If he's not sat in the car with you, it doesn't change that at all.
If he is sat in the car with you, then he commits an offence of
allowing you to drive that car with no insurance
and he'll be prosecuted for that offence.
If he wasn't in the car with you, don't talk him
into getting himself into even more trouble.
'My thoughts are, "I just want the truth."'
And I don't want people prosecuted when they don't need to be.
I don't want people at court when they don't need to be.
It's just waiting for that honesty and that's what I want.
Maybe I'm old-fashioned.
Be honest with me.
This is your 30 seconds that I'm going to give you,
while I dig in there, to think about what you're going to tell me.
Cos I will dig further and I will get witnesses.
Is that fair?
'I think that silence is a brilliant tool. You can sit there with someone
'and you can ask a question and don't say anything else.
'That silence just, maybe, puts them in a position where'
they feel they've got to say something.
Tell me what happened. Were you by yourself?
-No-one else in the car with you?
Why did you lie?
Cos I didn't want my husband to get into trouble.
What I want is honesty, all right?
At the end of the day,
I'm not going to turn a blind eye to what you're doing.
You are going to get prosecuted,
because you can't be out here doing this.
You can't drive a car with no insurance.
You can't just do what you're doing.
-It's wrong, isn't it?
You're putting, not only yourself, but everybody else,
at risk by driving that car.
Is that not fair?
-Yeah, I understand.
-It's really bad.
For me, you've got to have a massive reality check.
Mark has one matter left to sort out, the husband.
I just hope that people, when they leave me, actually think,
"I was dealt with as fairly as I could have been there."
At the end of the day, he's shook my hand,
he's happy with the outcome, he's got his car still and he's going
to resolve it with the other party as to the damage they've caused.
So, you can't ask for more than that, really.
Yeah, I'm going to prosecute people, of course I am.
Yes, I'm going to arrest people. Yes, I'm going to fight with people.
But I try and deal with them fairly.
Back in Ferrensby, Paul and Kiwi still have no idea why
a driver led them on a low-speed, wild goose chase.
I haven't resisted anything, have I?
So, quite clearly, I'm not resisting, I'm not a danger,
I just can't be arsed to stop for you.
I just couldn't be arsed to get a ticking off from you guys.
I just can't be arsed.
Was I drinking or something? No, I wasn't.
Doesn't really matter, occasionally people blow, don't they?
You don't have to have been drinking or be the wrong side of the law,
-off with everything.
It's quite strange. I mean, I overheard him
say he's had a tough couple of weeks at work or whatever.
I don't really know. It's all a bit odd.
Colleague PC Mark Mullins searches the car for any clues to the
There's nothing blatantly obvious, Paul, there's no smell of weed or that.
-He's got a couple of bags of this stuff you can buy on the internet.
A breath test comes up blank as well.
-I'm satisfied that that is zero.
-Have you taken anything else at all today?
I bought some legal highs to take back at mine,
but I haven't taken them.
-They obviously were in the car...
-..but you haven't had any now?
-No, no, no.
-Would you class yourself as white, British?
Excellent, all right.
We'll speak to you a bit later in relation to what's gone on, OK?
With the driver on his way to Harrogate Police Station, Kiwi
and Mark are piecing together what happened in the chase.
I was en route to Boroughbridge, in the right place, at the right time.
Got to the Copgrove turn off, turn right,
as he's already come past that location, back towards Staveley.
This is like when we go out for a drink, Kiwi's nearest the bar,
-but he's always last to get to it.
-Hello, Mark speaking.
-He's got a point.
If you can't take the mickey out of yourself, then it's not worth being in this job.
Later, at Harrogate Station, Mark books in the driver.
Is there anything in your pockets that might harm me or anybody else?
-No, no, no.
-Anything that you shouldn't have at all?
The reasons why he chose to ignore the cops are still no clearer.
How are you feeling at the moment?
Well, the reason I didn't stop is cos I didn't care, so, yeah,
so, I don't care.
I understand that, sir, but...
Well, whatever you've got to do, guys.
You know, you have to deal with people.
He's had a bad day at work, he's had a bad day at the office,
he's had a bad day at home.
You do have sympathy with people, but, ultimately, if that's
happening in your life, should you be on a road driving a car?
A tonne lump of metal, at great speeds,
that can cause a lot of damage to people.
You're in this one, it's got glass on the front.
I'll just put some lights on for you, for now.
The man is going to be placed in a cell,
whilst the cops make further inquiries.
-We won't keep you any longer than necessary, OK?
No, I did wrong, I know.
-We'll sort it, OK?
-All right, thank you.
He's been compliant, no bother at all.
Just strange behaviour on the road.
30 miles away, in Thirsk, collision investigator Steve Kirkbright
is searching for the cause of a fatal motorcycle accident.
Motorcycle's ended up over there.
The driver of a Honda was doing a U-turn during bad weather
when the bike collided.
Steve is briefing the team, who will help investigate
if someone was at fault.
The Honda's just out of sight, bottom right photograph.
We're trying to paint the picture for them,
so they know what they're going to deal with.
No marks on the road surface from the Honda on the left
of the photograph, going to the right of the photograph,
which is where the rider and bike end up.
Until we get to...
See, there, number one, that's what's left of the glass sunroof.
I think it comes over the top of the car, lands and slides there.
Steve needs to unravel
whether the Honda driver should've seen the bike coming, whether
the rider was at fault or whether it was a combination of the two.
The driver was adamant the bike's headlight was off,
but new evidence has emerged.
It turned out, a patrol car at the collision,
further down the road into Harrogate had actually
caught the motorcycle passing on the onboard camera.
Which showed the motorcyclist headlight to be on.
The next thing Steve needs to establish is how clear the driver's
line of sight was in the direction the bike was approaching from.
If you consider it's happening here,
I've extended my plan all the way back here.
As that Honda's sat looking, you can see,
you're raised from Harrogate, you can see down to Harrogate.
We've got a witness that says the motorcyclist had his headlight on.
Motorcyclist is there to be seen.
A further examination of the scene by Steve confirmed the rider had
to be 347 metres away from the Honda before his headlight was
visible and travelling in excess of 170mph to be
out of sight of the driver.
Testing has shown that the manoeuvre undertaken, having done it
five times, works out with an average time of 4.34 seconds.
Therefore, the motorcyclist can't travel from out of sight.
But he was there to be seen.
He was within the length of road that she could look down
and have view of.
Steve's findings will be compared to those of an independent expert,
to help the court determine if anyone is to blame for the accident.
One other explanation could be a combination of the rider's
initial speed and the principle of motion camouflage,
which may have rendered the rider invisible to the Honda driver.
As a motorcyclist himself,
Steve knows the attraction of North Yorkshire's roads.
I live in Thirsk. If I pull my motorcycle out the garage
and turn left, I'm in the Dales.
If I turn right, I've got the North York Moors. It's a pleasure.
It's the ability to escape.
But, having worked these roads for 30 years, he also knows the dangers.
The problem is that there can be unforgiving roads as well.
In North Yorkshire, I know the history of every bend.
I'll be prompted by a bunch of flowers, which over a year
I've watched die and fade and suddenly be replaced by a new bunch.
And will remember that it's somebody's birthday
and that that's Mum and Dad have been back to that scene.
And then watch, over the following year, them die off again.
The investigation moves to a workshop in Harrogate, where
he can scour the vehicles involved for clues to the biker's speed.
Potentially, a contributing factor to the crash.
We're just going to try and position the motorcycle,
just for my benefit,
upright, as it would be when it was ridden.
And just see if it fits together like a piece of jigsaw.
It may, it may not.
Right, drop it down a bit. Drop the back.
Keep dropping it, Kenny.
Hold it there!
Brilliant, thank you.
It just helps us form a picture of the mechanics of the collision.
Those last milliseconds, as the two undamaged vehicles come
together, what makes them end up in this state.
You think, a tenth of a second before the motorcycle hit
that car, that car was in perfect condition and so was the motorcycle.
A tenth of a second after the collision,
you're looking at that damage there.
Steve needs to rule out faulty brakes as being
the cause of the collision.
If you look at the disc brakes, they're not rusty.
If you don't use your brakes for a long time,
it builds up a surface layer of rust.
The fact that they're clean says to me that the
brakes have been working.
The workshop investigation takes a team of three people 12 hours
But Steve has no doubt about its importance.
it's got to be investigated as far as we possibly can.
Because the motorcyclist isn't here to explain what happened
and what he did.
It's finding the balance between using science
and remembering that you're dealing with people's loved ones.
Anybody in our unit,
we'll see more violent deaths in a year than the whole of the CID will.
Just from the nature of the job.
You have to find a way of being able to go home and deal with that.
The best evidence Steve has to determined the bike's speed is
the result of the impact.
Damage to both the forks.
The fork rigs are bent backwards towards the engine,
they're twisted and the wheel's deformed within the lower mounting.
So, it's all starting to tell a story about the amount
of force that's been applied to here.
This is the frame of the motorcycle, this is the main structure.
Everything else is built around that central frame.
If you look here, the frame has actually snapped there.
'I need to look at those cracks and work out
'whether they've been caused in the impact'
or whether it was a pre-existing crack, which has led to
a failure, which has led to the motorcyclist losing control.
We don't make assumptions.
It's not that it's rusted and deformed,
it's been a physical blow that's done it.
As a rough guide, with a speed limit of 60, somebody travelling at
or about that speed limit, you might start to get cracks in the frame.
On this occasion, the motorcycle hasn't only cracked, but had parted.
As a rule of thumb, within the office,
if the frame's snapped, it's 60 plus.
60 mile an hour or thereabouts.
When you consider that the speed limit on that road
and that the rider may have braked before the impact,
that would suggest that the approach of the motorcycle
was in excess of the speed limit.
So, while Steve's report concludes the motorbike probably
had its lights on and was there to be seen,
an alternative explanation, offered by an independent expert,
suggested the rider was travelling at speed
and possibly invisible to the Honda driver.
It's now up to the courts to decide who,
if anyone, was to blame for this collision.
But, whatever the verdict,
there's no undoing what has been a terrible tragedy for all involved.
What you need to visualise is somebody throwing a pebble
into a perfectly still pond and the ripples going out to that pond.
The closer you are to the centre of the pond, if it's your son
that's been killed in a road accident, the greater effect.
But the ripples go on.
This gentleman had work colleagues that he didn't turn up to
work for, family around the world that have been informed
in a phone call, partners, friends,
the driver of the other vehicle.
It can have massive effects
and ripples that go on for years and years and years.
At York Crown Court,
a jury of 12 found the Honda driver who collided with the motorcyclist
on the A59 not guilty of causing death by careless driving,
by a unanimous verdict.
The occupants of the van that dumped over
a kilogram of cannabis on the A1 and escaped into Leeds have not
been identified and are still at large.
The learner driver who bumped another car close to her home
on a Scarborough estate was banned from driving for six months
and fined £110 for driving otherwise in accordance with
a licence and no insurance.
And the driver who led the cops on a country lane wild goose chase
was fined £100 and disqualified for six months,
for failing to stop and driving without due care.
North Yorkshire's traffic cops police the largest county in England and Wales - 6,000 miles of some of Britain's most scenic, and most unforgiving, roads. They deal with among the highest number of serious collisions per person in the UK.
This episode follows a major investigation in the aftermath of a collision that has left a young motorcyclist critically injured. The key question for the investigating officers is whether the driver who collided with the rider should have seen the biker before the accident occurred. With the tragic news that the rider has died, the driver faces charges of death by careless driving and the possibility of a prison sentence.
Over the last ten years, 155 bikers have been killed and 1,170 seriously injured on North Yorkshire's roads.