POLICE officers involved in the collision that killed Vincent Gibson recalled the fateful night at the inquest.
Pc David Hutchinson, of South Shields 24/7 team, was partnered with Pc Lisa Lumley as a passenger in her car, which was the first of two vehicles responding to the 999 emergency call of a man threatening to harm himself.
Describing what happened, he said: “I noticed a group of people up at the roundabout at the far end of Whiteleas Way.
“I noticed them and the next thing I knew, my attention was brought to what I thought was someone who appeared to run out between two parked cars into our path.
“Me and Pc Lumley realised at the same time and at that point I think we both swore.
“There was a collision and the next thing I remember was the roof coming in and being covered in glass when the windscreen was shattered on my side of the vehicle.”
Pc Hutchinson broke down in tears as he described how he was trapped in the car and that he could hear his colleague shouting to the control room for help.
Firefighters had to cut the roof off the car in order to free him.
The officer was asked if he had any concern over the way his colleague was driving and he answered: “No, not at any point.”
Pc Daniel Maddison also gave evidence.
At the time of Mr Gibson’s death, he was a special constable working from South Shields police station, and on the night in question, he was a passenger in Pc Jocelyn Raine’s car.
They were following Pc Lumley and Pc Hutchinson in response to the emergency call.
He said: “I was looking directly in front of me and the last thing I saw on the left-hand side was a grey Nissan Micra, then I saw debris, heard a crash and a dull thud.
“There was dust, just debris, and I thought that Pc Lumley had clipped one of the parked cars on the left-hand side.
“Not that she was driving too close, but there was no other explanation I could think of at that moment.
“Pc Raine immediately did an emergency stop.”
He added: “I got out of my vehicle. I think I grabbed my high-vis jacket and I believed that what was on the floor was a bumper of a car.
“I went round to the passenger side of the front vehicle to see Pc Hutchinson. I couldn’t get the door open.
“I looked inside and Dave was clearly in a state of shock. I was calling his name, but he couldn’t talk, he was just staring straight ahead.
“I realised he was OK and turned around to see Pc Raine and Pc Lumley next to Mr Gibson and at that moment I realised it was a person on the floor.”