Fri, 17 Jan 2020
A CRASH which killed a Thatcham police officer “sounded like a bomb going off”, according to witnesses.
Reading Crown Court heard how Pc James Dixon may have been travelling at up to 100mph or more on his motorcycle before the collision which killed him and an elderly woman.
Pc Dixon was taking part in a surveillance training exercise when a Toyota Aygo pulled out in front of him.
The Aygo and the bike were catapulted into the air by the force of the collision, Reading Crown Court heard on Monday.
Thirty-nine-year-old Pc Dixon, who lived in Thatcham with his wife Sam and was based at Loddon Valley Police Station, died at the scene on the A4 in Hare Hatch, near Twyford, on December 5, 2017.
He was known for his appearances on Sky TV’s Road Wars series.
In the dock was the Aygo driver – 35-year-old Agne Jasulaitiene of Talavera Close, Crowthorne.
She denies causing the death of Pc Dixon and her passenger, 91-year-old Gladys Goodwin, by careless driving.
Ellie Fargin, prosecuting, told the jury they would have to decide whether Ms Jasulaitiene’s driving “fell below the standard of what would be expected of a careful and competent driver”.
The court heard Pc Dixon's motorbike was in collision with the passenger side of Miss Jasulaitiene’s Toyota when she turned right into Blakes Lane.
Witness Sherry Tanner, who had been in a car behind the Aygo, said the crash “sounded like a bomb going off”.
She told the court she had not seen the motorbike approaching in the moments beforehand.
Ms Jasulaitiene was freed from the wreckage by the fire brigade, said Ms Fargin, who added: “She seemed confused and in shock and kept saying: ‘What happened? Did something come into me?’”
Ms Fargin went on: “Pc Dixon was an experienced mobile surveillance operative who was said to have taken his role seriously... he was not known for taking risks.
“The defendant had a clear line of sight along the Bath Road for at least 350m.
“The crown’s case is that Pc Dixon was there to be seen on that motorbike and he should have been seen.
“She should have waited for him to pass before conducting that manoeuvre.”
She conceded that Pc Dixon was “clearly driving beyond the speed limit” but added: “Regardless of the speed... the crown say it’s not a factor that undermines the careless driving of the defendant.”
Ian Bridge, defending, told jurors: “We submit to you that on that day there was nothing about her driving which was capable of real or serious criticism.
“She placed her vehicle in the correct position to turn right and moved across at 13mph.
“What was exceptional was, coming in the other direction on a surveillance motorbike designed not to be seen, was a police officer travelling at more than twice the (50mph) speed limit on that road.
“Such was the speed of the motorcycle, we say, that it was hardly surprising that a competent and careful driver – which we say she is – didn’t see it.
“We say there’s no evidence... that her driving, on this occasion, was anything other than ordinary, competent and careful driving.”
The trial continues.