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22 January 2015, 07:07
A police officer has been found not guilty of causing the death of a Birmingham man by careless driving.
Back in April 2012 traffic officer PC Vaughan Lowe was called to reports of a stolen vehicle.
He was in his unmarked black BMW when Xuan Wei Zhang, 24, stepped out onto Newtown Row in the Newtown area of Birmingham. His car had its lights and sirens activated.
The student from China was taken to hospital with severe injuries but died the following day.
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Cann, from West Midlands Police, said: "On behalf of the entire force I once again extend our heartfelt condolences to Xuan Wei’s family and friends. No parent should have to lose a child in such tragic circumstances and I am very sorry for their loss.
"There are no winners as a result of today’s verdict. A family remain grieving for a loved one and a highly skilled police officer who has dedicated his life to public service - and who had an otherwise unblemished driving history - will forever be haunted by the events of that night."
A major investigation was immediately launched at the time Xuan Wei was hit and the case referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
West Midlands Police have released a statment after the verdict and say they'll consider if PC Lowe should be allowed to driver police cars again: "PC Lowe was suspended from driving police cars but remained active as a police officer until November 2013 when the Crown Prosecution Service decided to charge the officer. The 43-year-old - who joined the force in 1990 and the Traffic Unit 10 years later - was then suspended from the force pending trial. PC Lowe’s suspension will now be reviewed."
After the verdict the IPPC told Heart: “Following the death of Mr Xuanwei Zhang in Birmingham on 4 April 2012, the IPCC conducted an independent investigation into the actions of the police officer, PC Lowe, involved in the road traffic incident. In April 2013 a file was passed to the CPS.
"It has been announced today that PC Lowe has been found not guilty of causing death by careless driving. My thoughts and condolences are once again with Zhang’s family at this difficult time and I have met with them during the trial.
"Our final investigation report has been given to Mr Zhang’s family and passed to West Midlands Police. It found that PC Lowe had a case to answer for gross misconduct as his driving fell below the required standard and failed to comply with a number of national and force-wide policies as well as the Highway Code. West Midlands Police will now finalise internal disciplinary hearings.”