Officers acted appropriately in search for missing man prior to fatal collision in Northamptonshire

Published: 09 Apr 2024

An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has found that Northamptonshire Police officers acted appropriately in responding to welfare concerns for a man who died in a road traffic collision soon after. 

The collision happened at around 1pm on 1 March 2023 on the A45, close to the A14 junction near Thrapston, and involved a Ford Kuga driven by 52-year-old Mark Meagan and a DAF truck driven by Paul Straker from Hertfordshire, who was aged 40. Both drivers were sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

Following a referral from Northamptonshire Police shortly afterwards, the IOPC declared an independent investigation and sent investigators to the scene of the collision and the police post incident procedures to begin gathering information.

The investigation examined the police response to calls concerning Mr Meagan’s welfare; the actions and decisions of officers and staff in relation to locating him; and whether relevant national and local policies and procedures were followed.

At an inquest into Mr Meagan’s death in Northampton yesterday (Monday) the coroner returned a conclusion of suicide. In a separate inquest, the coroner ruled that Mr Straker, the HGV driver, had been unlawfully killed. Issuing our findings has awaited the inquests.  

After concerns were reported about Mr Meagan’s welfare on the morning of 1 March police attended his home address, but he wasn’t present. The police incident log shows he was then treated as a high-risk missing person. ANPR checks were carried out and officers dispatched to try to locate him. Police became aware Mr Meagan had told a family member he intended to kill himself and when a police officer spoke to him on his mobile shortly before 1pm he stated that he ‘would ram any police cars that try to stop him’. Police officers encountered the fatal collision scene at 1.05pm. 

The investigation established that police knew that Mr Meagan had threatened to end his life and were actively trying to locate him to check on his welfare.  However, they were unable to find him prior to the collision.  The investigation found there were no police cars in the vicinity at the time and location of the collision.  Dashcam footage from the first police car to arrive at the scene shows it came from the opposite direction Mr Meagan was travelling in and approximately three minutes after the collision. Other footage shows Mr Meagan’s car cross the carriageway into oncoming traffic and collide with the HGV. 

IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell said: “I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the families and friends of both Mr Meagan and Mr Straker who died in this tragic incident.

“The evidence suggests the police staff and officers involved all made a conscious effort in trying to locate Mr Meagan and were proactive in following lines of enquiry, in accordance with the force missing person’s policy and national guidance. The investigation treated police officers as witnesses throughout and found no indication anyone behaved in a manner that would justify any disciplinary proceedings.” 

IOPC investigators attended the scene of the collision, viewed dashcam footage, reviewed the telephone calls, police airwaves and incident logs, and obtained witness statements from officers involved in dealing with this incident. Investigators also reviewed the relevant local and national policies and guidance. 

At the end of our investigation in October, we shared our investigation report with the families of both men who died, Northamptonshire Police and the coroner. 


  • Northamptonshire Police
  • Road traffic incidents