Father-of-two killed after being knocked down by police car answering 999 call


A father-of-two was knocked down and killed by a police car as it responded to an emergency call.

Vincent Gibson, 50, died after he was struck by the marked vehicle in South Shields, South Tyneside.

Two police officers were also injured in the crash, which happened just before 10.30pm on Saturday night.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said its blue flashing lights and sirens were turned on at the time.

Vincent Gibson was apparently hit by the police car as he crossed Whiteleas Road in South Shields

Vincent Gibson was apparently hit by the police car as he crossed Whiteleas Road in South Shields

Witnesses have told of their horror at hearing Mr Gibson being struck by the car.

Brian Scott, 35, who lives just feet away from the scene, said: 'I heard a really loud thud and when I got up and opened the window I saw a man lying there at the side of the road. He wasn't moving.

'There were two police cars there. Then five minutes later about a dozen more arrived.

'One of the officers came to give him CPR. But I think he was already gone.'

It is believed Mr Gibson was hit on or near a crossing island on Whiteleas Way.

The driver and passenger of the car - both police officers - were initially trapped and firefighters had to cut them free.

They were taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries before being discharged.

Mr Scott added: 'There were four ambulances and two fire engines there. They got him off to hospital then the fire engine had to cut the roof off the police car.'

Mother-of-four Vikki Jones returned home from a night out to find the damaged police car outside her home.

The 30-year-old said: 'I just saw the state of the police car. When I came back, all of the front was smashed in and the roof had come off.

'I think they had cut it off to get them out. The front was all smashed in and the back was all smashed in. It was a right state, everything was cordoned off.

'I heard the man was crossing at the island.'

A 50-year-old woman, who did not want to be named, said Mr Gibson landed at the end of her drive after he was hit.

She said: 'My husband just heard a big bang. I didn't see it until after it happened. He looked out the window and shouted that a police car had knocked someone over.

'The windscreen of the car was all smashed. They had to cut one of the officers out. All the commotion was going on for about two hours. It was horrible seeing him lying there.

'You see police cars speeding up and down here all the time, especially on a Saturday night.'

Mr Gibson, who is from the Biddick Hall area of South Shields, South Tyneside, was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police sealed off the road until around 8.15am yesterday. An investigation has now been launched by the independent police watchdog into the circumstances.

And uniformed officers were making house-to-house inquiries and taking statements throughout the day.

The incident is now being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

And officers from Durham Constabulary have been called in to oversee and undertake the initial stages of the inquiry.

Northumbria Police's Area Commander for South Tyneside, Chief Supt Ian Dawes has expressed his condolences to Mr Gibson's family, and moved to reassure the public that all officers know how to drive safely.

'Our thoughts and condolences are with the deceased's family at this very difficult time,' he said.

'This is a tragic incident and we are doing all we can to support the family of the deceased and the wider community in the area.

'Extra officers are out in Whiteleas Way on patrol today to speak to residents and offer any support that is needed.

'We are also supporting the officers involved in the collision who have been understandably left shaken by what has happened.

'All the circumstances around the collision are currently being looked at by the IPCC, with the help of senior officers from Durham police force, to ensure that they are being investigated independently.

'We know that when incidents like this happen it can cause concern to the public but I want to reassure people that Northumbria Police drivers are fully aware of their responsibilities in responding safely to and attending emergency calls.'

Officers want to speak to passengers travelling on a bus that was in the area  around the time of the crash.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: 'We want to trace and speak to anyone who was on the number 17 Stagecoach bus and may have got off the bus at the Whiteleas Way or Nevinson Avenue stops.

'The bus was in the area between 10:23pm and 10:30pm and officers would like to speak to anyone who was on the bus or may have any information that could help police with their inquiries into the collision.'

Anyone with information should contact police on 101 ext 69191.

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