A police officer charged with driving without due care and attention after two young people suffered life-changing injuries has been cleared following a trial.

PC David French denied the charge when he appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court and was yesterday found not guilty.

The Cleveland Police officer was in a van responding to an incident on May 22, last year, when the crash with the Vauxhall Corsa happened on Grewgrass Lane, Marske.

Following the collision, the officer told investigators that his marked police van was stationary at the time but body-worn footage showed the officer had pulled out into the road and later admitted that’s what he had done.

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The case was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) after the vehicle collided with the car resulting in it flipping onto its side leaving the two teenagers injured.

And the officer could still face a gross misconduct hearing after the IOPC he had a case to answer due to his driving prior to the collision.

During the probe, the IOPC also obtained statements from witnesses and interviewed the officers present at the time after the teens both suffered serious injuries.

It was established that PC French was one of two officers responding to a report of an abandoned quad bike on Grewgrass Lane and once it was recovered, he returned to the police van to leave.

The police van was then involved in a collision with a Vauxhall Corsa, which resulted in the occupants, an 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl, suffering serious injuries.

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IOPC Regional Director Emily Barry said: “My sympathies remain with the two young occupants of the Vauxhall Corsa, who sustained serious injuries, and all those affected by the incident in May 2022.

“This incident has had a profound impact on the lives of these young people and their families, and this is something they will have to live with for many years to come.

“Given the seriousness of the allegation, it was right for the evidence to be tested in a public court. It was a matter for the judge, applying a far higher evidential threshold than the one we must use when considering referral to the CPS, to determine whether PC French drove without due care and attention, and I am grateful for their careful consideration of this case.

“We found PC French, whose conduct was also under investigation, had a case to answer for gross misconduct in relation to his driving prior to the collision. It will be for Cleveland Police to arrange a disciplinary hearing in due course.”