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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 January 2007, 09:30 GMT
Crash families criticise police
Floral tributes at the scene of the crash last January
The accident happened on the A38 in January 2006
The families of two men who died in a head-on crash on the A38 in Somerset have said they are disappointed an inquest ruled police were not to blame.

The police pursuit ended when a drunken driver careered off the road killing himself and the driver of another car.

An inquest jury ruled the pursuit was legitimate and that police had not forced James Dunn to drive too fast.

The mother of the man not being chased said her son would still be alive if the police had not been involved.

'Failed to stop'

Speaking outside the coroner's court Margaret Butler said she could not agree with the court's verdict.

She said her son's death had "devastated" the family and said the police were partially to blame.

"I don't think the pursuit should have taken place, it should have been stopped in the early stages," she said.

The police chase had begun when a car failed to stop after an accident in Taunton town centre.

The car being pursued went out of control on a bend, careered across the road and collided head-on with another car.

The chased driver James Dunn, 34, was twice over the drink-drive limit.

Pursuit review urged

The jury was told it had to decide what part the police pursuit played in the accident - had they forced Mr Dunn to drive too fast and should the pursuit have been called-off at any stage?

The jury decided police were not to blame because they had not forced Mr Dunn to drive at high speeds and the pursuit was legitimate.

A police spokesman speaking outside the court said any pursuit was always risk-assessed and the coroner and jury felt the actions of the police officers did not contribute to the accident.

Speaking after the inquest a spokesman for the family of James Dunn, said: "Although we are disappointed with the verdict of the jury we still hope Avon and Somerset [police] will learn lessons for any further pursuits."

The coroner while not attaching blame to any officers in this case said he would be writing to Avon and Somerset police asking them to review their pursuit procedures.




SEE ALSO
Second police chase driver dies
24 Jan 06 |  Somerset
Inquiry after police chase death
23 Jan 06 |  Somerset

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