IOPC investigation into police actions prior to a fatal collision in Wiltshire is continuing

Published: 01 Feb 2024

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is progressing an investigation into police actions prior to a fatal road traffic collision immediately off the M4 at junction 15 near Swindon. 

A Vauxhall Astra was being pursued by Wiltshire Police officers after having failed to stop when it collided with a traffic island at the end of a slip road off the motorway at around 10.50 pm on Tuesday 2 January. Sadly, 17-year-old Jamie Donnelly, an occupant in the Astra died at the scene. 

Our investigation began after we were notified by Wiltshire Police and we sent investigators to the scene and to the police post incident procedure to start gathering evidence. 

We have established that minutes prior to the collision three police vehicles had unsuccessfully attempted to execute a controlled stop of the Astra through a boxing in manoeuvre on the M4. A pursuit on the M4 eastbound continued with police vehicles operating their emergency lights and sirens. The Astra and one of the police vehicles exited the motorway at Junction 15, driving up the slip road at speed where both vehicles went through a red light at the end of the slip road before they crashed into the traffic island. Both officers in the police vehicle sustained minor injuries. 

We have advised the constable who was driving the police vehicle that crashed that they are under criminal investigation for the offence of causing death by dangerous driving. The officer has also been served with a gross misconduct notice for potentially breaching police standards of professional behaviour. The serving of a criminal letter and gross misconduct notice does not necessarily mean that any proceedings will follow. 

The IOPC investigation is examining the actions and decisions of the police officers and staff involved in the pursuit, including the authorisation, planning and implementation of containment tactics. 

We have gathered statements from police officers involved along with police dashcam footage and radio transmissions which are being reviewed. 

IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell said: “We have been in contact with Jamie Donnelly’s family to express our sympathy for their sad loss, and to explain how our investigation will be carried out. Our investigation is at an early stage and is considering whether officers acted in accordance with local and national policies, and their training.

“Following the conclusion of our investigation, we will decide whether to refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service and we will also determine whether any disciplinary proceedings should follow for a police driver.”

Thames Valley Police is undertaking a parallel criminal investigation into the driving of the Astra, and a man who was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving has been released on bail. 

  • Wiltshire Police
  • Road traffic incidents