Coroner’s concerns as inquest hears Beds PCs were in ‘panic mode’ at crash scene

Eitvidas Zdanys was confirmed dead at the scene
Eitvidas Zdanys was confirmed dead at the scene

A coroner is set to write to the Chief Constable of Beds Police to raise concerns over the levels of first aid training officers receive.

An inquest on Tuesday heard that PCs went into ‘panic mode’ after a collision on the Luton/Dunstable border in the early hours of August 2 last year, which claimed the life of a 19-year-old motorcyclist.

Officers on the scene at the Dunstable Road/Skimpot Road roundabout “didn’t know what they should do” for victim Eitvidas Zdanys, senior coroner Tom Osborne said.

The inquest heard that footage from officers’ body cameras was reviewed by PC David Charlton, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit.

Though Mr Zdanys sustained a number of serious injuries and would not have survived the collision, PC Charlton told Mr Osborne that CPR should have been administered “at an early stage”.

Despite this, the inquest heard that resuscitation attempts were delayed.

Mr Osborne said: “I am not criticising those that were present but I will write to the Chief Constable and will ask him to review training of officers in first aid.

“I hope he would agree that all officers should have a minimum (level of training).

“It didn’t make any difference at all to Mr Zdanys, which is confirmed by the post mortem.

“But it is a concern I have.”

Phil Chandler, training manager for the Beds, Cambs and Herts police HR department, told the Herald & Post: “Protecting people is a priority for Bedfordshire Police. All of our officers receive a first aid training package which is regularly refreshed.

“Our roads policing officers receive an additional advanced level of training due to the immediate response they provide and the challenging and critical incidents they attend. Initial allocation of officers is based on proximity in order to provide the fastest possible response to incidents where the public is at harm.

“We work hard with the other emergency services in the county and remain committed to seek to improve our effectiveness and reliability of the service we provide.”

Tuesday’s inquest heard that on the night before the fatal collision, Mr Zdanys, from Dagenham, travelled to Luton to meet a friend.

The pair consumed alcohol before heading out to go to McDonald’s on Luton Road, Dunstable, at around 2am the next morning.

The inquest heard that on the journey Mr Zdanys starting ‘showing off’ to his friend, who was riding pillion, by riding at the maximum speed he could.

PC Bruce Lister, collision investigator, said that as the pair approached the Dunstable Road/Skimpot Road roundabout, Mr Zdanys’ Kawasaki ZX600 struck the offside curb and careened out of control.

The motorbike continued onto the roundabout and collided with a Toyota Prius private hire car.

Mr Zdanys and his passenger were travelling at no less than 78mph at the time of the collision, PC Lister added.

The speed limit on the road is 30mph.

The impact of the collision propelled the pair off the motorbike and Mr Zdanys suffered skull, rib and spinal fractures as wells as a tear in the vessels of his heart.

The 19-year-old’s death was confirmed at the scene by officers.

The passenger suffered serious injuries– including a double break to the arm– and was taken to the Luton & Dunstable Hospital.

Toxicology tests showed that Mr Zdanys, a construction worker originally from Luthuania, had 156mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood– almost two times the UK drink drive limit of 80mg.

PC Lister said: “The effects of alcohol are likely to be contributory to the collision, this was compounded by limited experience of the roads.”