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Sgt 'lucky' to survive after banned driver hits police vehicle at 50mph

Northumbria Sgt Dave Roberts’ patrol car was sent spinning off the road after Nathan Ferguson deliberately shunted him onto a grass verge during a high-speed pursuit in February.

A Northumbria sergeant who was rammed off the road by a disqualified driver during a police pursuit earlier this year says he "feared" he wouldn't return home to his family.

Sgt Dave Roberts was lucky to survive after the incident on February 16, which saw the now-jailed Nathan Ferguson deliberately shunt his car while being pursued between North Tyneside and County Durham. 

His actions caused Sgt Roberts' car to spin 180 degrees off the road at high speed. The officer had moved in front of Ferguson in a bid to slow him down as further police resources followed.

Sgt Roberts - a motor patrols officer and lead investigator with 30 years’ experience - suffered whiplash injuries, but knows the outcome could have been much worse.

“As police officers, we come to work knowing that we may have to risk our own safety to protect the wider public.

“However, I’ve never been involved in an incident where the offender showed such a total disregard for the potential consequences. He hit my police vehicle at 50mph – reckless in the knowledge of what would happen next.

“All officers begin duty with the expectation that they can return to their families once that duty is complete. For the first time, on that day, I feared that might not be possible."

Ferguson was handed a 30-month custodial sentence after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and assault causing actual bodily harm on July 19.

He has also been disqualified from driving for 27 months, starting from when he leaves prison.

Chief Superintendent Neil Hutchison, from the force's operations department, said the incident was "one of the most dangerous pieces of driving" he has seen in 25 years service.

While full of praise for Sgt Roberts' "outstanding bravery", he condemned Ferguson for actions which could have killed both the officer and members of the public.

Sgt Roberts admits he has lost sleep over the incident. “I often find myself awake at night thinking about what happened that day. It’s not being dramatic to say that I could have been killed – I feel lucky to be alive."

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