A driver who was already on a driving ban and who mowed down a West Midlands Police officer – leaving him critically injured in the street – has been sent to prison for seven years.
Tekle Lennox knocked down PC Chris Burnham in the Holbrooks area of Coventry on 25th September 2019.
PC Burnham was on patrol with a colleague in a marked police vehicle when he spotted Lennox driving a Mini in Foleshill Road.
Lennox was already on a driving ban and was also wanted by the police in connection with a domestic robbery.
The 37-year-old failed to stop for the police but got caught up in heavy traffic during the pursuit.
PC Burnham, a 25-year veteran cop, ran towards the stationary Mini to detain Lennox.
But Lennox sped off and veered around a mini-roundabout before striking the police officer in Holbrook Lane.
PC Burnham was thrown onto the bonnet of the Mini and suffered serious injuries after he head smashed the windscreen of Lennox’s car.
The 48-year-old police officer was placed in an induced coma for several days and spent over one month in hospital.
Investigating officers found the abandoned Mini a short distance away from the crime scene and seized CCTV evidence which showed Lennox running away from the car with his dog.
A search was launched to try and find Lennox, and he was quickly located after a police officer spotted him in Outermarch Road, COventry.
Lennox was on a driving ban at the time of the offence after being convicted in 2017 for dangerous driving. He was sent to court again in 2018 after continuing to drive while on a ban.
He was initially charged with attempted murder, but he admitted to wounding with intent to resist arrest.
Today, at Warwick Justice Centre, Lennox was jailed for a total of seven years and four months.
PC Burnham − who is married and has one son − has not returned to policing since as he continues his recovery from the physical and psychological consequences of the collision.
Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Phil Caldwell said:
“The officers activated their patrol car’s blue lights and indicated for the driver to stop.
“Lennox, knowing he was wanted and banned from driving, made off and struck PC Burnham as he ran around the island to try and stop him escaping.
“The impact lifted the PC off his feet, and he was carried on the bonnet for three seconds. We estimated Lennox was travelling at around 21mph when he struck PC Burnham.
“The officer suffered a very serious head injury and a shattered knee…we could easily have been looking at a murder enquiry.”
Speaking just before Christmas, PC Burnham said he’ll be “forever grateful” to colleagues and medical staff who helped him.
Today he added:
“I just want to say a huge thank you, not just to the police, judicial service and of course the NHS, but to the public – those who know me and those who don’t.
“It’s just nice to know that fundamentally there are good people out there and they’ve supported me and family. Their support has helped me get back onto my feet.”
Coventry Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Mike O’Hara, said:
“Policing is like a close family and the injury Chris suffered had a real impact on all of us in Coventry.
“There are many officers and staff in regular contact with Chris and his family and we continue to do all we can to ensure he has the best support possible.
“Policing is a hugely rewarding job, helping people in need and striving to make people’s lives better. But there are highs and lows and it remains a difficult and dangerous job.
“Chris has served the people of Coventry brilliantly over many years and I really hope that we will see him patrolling his patch in Foleshill soon.”
PC Burnham added that he’s missing being on the beat in Foleshill and working with the Salvation Army to help vulnerable people in his patch.
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