A POLICE sergeant fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a parked car while on duty, Scarborough magistrates heard yesterday.
Andrew David Farrar, 40, pleaded guilty with special reasons to driving without due care and attention.
The nature of Farrar’s police duties are so sensitive that the court ordered that they cannot be revealed in the media in the interests of national security, but he conducts operations in Scarborough and the rest of North Yorkshire.
His address can also not be disclosed, as to do so could put Farrar and his family in danger. Jenni Kilvington, prosecuting, said Farrar had crashed his BMW police vehicle into a Vauxhall Vectra in Tadcaster at 5.35am on October 8 last year while he was working alone on a nightshift.
“The person who owned the car was getting ready to go to work,” she said. “He heard a loud bang and noticed his vehicle had been damaged. He saw the police officer and thought he had come quickly to the accident.
“The officer told him it was his fault due to him falling asleep at the wheel.”
The court was shown a video recording from inside the police car of the moment of impact. It showed Farrar sitting still for several seconds and rubbing his forehead, before leaving the vehicle.
Farrar, who joined the Metropolitan Police in 1989 before transferring to North Yorkshire Police in 1997, gave evidence at the hearing.
He told the court that he had worked for four consecutive days when the accident occurred. He returned to work at 10pm on October 7, after finishing his previous shift at midnight.
Farrar performed clerical duties before he got into his car at 1.30am and drove for three hours before arriving at Fulford Road Police Station in York.
He then got back into his vehicle at 5.15am and drove towards Tadcaster Police Station. He drove for around 20 miles before he crashed around 300 yards from his destination. His shift was due to end at 7am.
“I contacted the force control room inspector,” Farrar said. “The member of the public who owned the vehicle came out and complemented the police response. I pointed out that it was me who had caused the accident.
“The first indication of fatigue was the collision. You hear about your head nodding and swerving. There was none of that at all. There were no signs or indications prior to that. If there had been I would have stopped.”
Magistrates found that they did not consider that there were special reasons in the case, meaning penalty points had to be imposed on Farrar’s licence.
Ian Westmoreland, the chairman of the bench, said: “The case centred on fatigue. We do not find any special reasons. He was performing his normal duties.
“You pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. It was a minor accident with minimal damage.”
Farrar was fined £130, told to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £15. Three penalty points were added to his licence.
Following the decision a spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: “We are satisfied with the decision of the courts. We have no plans to take any disciplinary action against Sgt Farrar, who will remain in his current post.”