A woman has spoken out to claim she was involved in a car crash with a police vehicle that was allegedly carrying Sophie Wessex at the end of last year, and now they’re locked in a legal dispute over liability.
According to the Birmingham Mail, UK motorist Gill Walker, 59, spoke to police officers at the scene of the accident at the time who allegedly told her that the vehicle had to leave the scene because there was a “royal on board”.
The mother of two was driving her Peugeot 107 in Birmingham’s city centre on November 13 and told the news outlet that the collision happened when she was switching lanes on the busy road. However, when she pulled over to exchange insurance details, the other car drove off.
She said a second 4×4 with blue flashing lights – which was carrying police officers – then pulled up beside her and told her about the protocol to continue driving when there’s a royal on board.
“Another 4×4 with police blue lights pulled over and I shouted, ‘He’s driven off!’ They [police officers] said ‘No, they’re with us. Can you go round the corner?’” she recalled to the news outlet. Walker added that the officer then explained: “There’s a royal on board, they’re not allowed to stop.”
While neither the police nor Buckingham Palace have confirmed which member of the royal family it was, Walker believes it was the Countess of Wessex as she had been in Birmingham that day opening a rehabilitation centre for injured soldiers.
Today The Countess of Wessex opened the first military and civilian wound research centre of its kind at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. pic.twitter.com/YTCHGRZHqF
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) November 13, 2018
In fact, the royal family’s official Twitter account shared a photo of Sophie at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on the day – and she was later confirmed as the only royal on a visit in the city at the time.
In a statement to the news outlet, West Midlands Police confirmed the accident involved a convoy and the vehicle couldn’t stop at the scene due to “operational reasons and force protocol”.
The spokesman also confirmed one of its vehicles “was involved in a collision with a third party vehicle during a police operation, resulting in damage to both vehicles as they travelled along a three-lane carriageway”.
They added: “Due to operational reasons and force protocol, the vehicle did not stop, but another vehicle in convoy behind the damaged car did stop, and details were exchanged with the third party for insurance purposes. A report has been completed by the driver, a police sergeant, and is with the force’s insurers for assessment.”
Walker confirmed she had swapped insurance details at the scene and provided her own dashcam footage of the collision. She claimed problems began when her insurer, Tesco Bank, contacted police about the incident. They’re now in discussions, but she claimed to the news outlet that the police are denying liability.
A royal spokesman reportedly said the issue was “a matter for the police”.