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Ex-Cop Guilty Of Dangerous Driving

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 30 NZPA - A police patrol car driver who did a u-turn in the road hitting and seriously injuring two motorcyclists has been convicted of two counts of dangerous driving.

A Nelson District Court jury took less than an hour this morning to find Anthony Dale Bridgman, who has since retired from the force after 30 years' service, guilty of both charges, the Nelson Mail reported.

Bridgman was a Blenheim-based highway patrol sergeant when he did a u-turn in the Upper Buller Gorge to go in pursuit of a speeding motorcyclist in December 2007.

But his action resulted in two motorcyclists colliding with his patrol car both suffering serious head injuries.

Crown prosecutor Sarah MacDonald had told the jury of eight women and four men that motorcyclists Brent Russell and Marty Collins were heading toward Inangahua from Murchison, while Bridgman was travelling in the opposite direction, when he clocked another motorcyclist travelling at 125kmh.

Bridgman decided to do a three-point turn to follow the speeding motorcyclist, Mrs MacDonald said.

As Mr Russell and Mr Collins rounded a bend, they collided with Bridgman as he did the turn. The motorcyclists suffered serious injuries.

Defence lawyer Gary Barkle told the jury Bridgman had a clear 100 metres of road in front of him when he did his u-turn.

The motorcyclists who collided with Bridgman's highway patrol car were riding high performance motorcycles and were travelling at speeds over 100kmh, Mr Barkle said.

Their injuries were unfortunate but not the fault of Bridgman, he said.

Judge Tony Zohrab remanded Bridgman for sentencing on May 26.

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