Police officers hurt in suspect hunt collision

Crash scene at Deaks Lane-Staplefield Road near Cuckfield
Crash scene at Deaks Lane-Staplefield Road near Cuckfield

Police officers searching for a man wanted for questioning were hurt when a suspect’s car hit theirs.

The two were helped by fire and rescue teams and paramedics after the crash at about 1.30pm at the junction of Deaks Lane and Staplefield Road, just outside Cuckfield.

The marked police car was in Staplefield Road when the crash happened.

The officers had been tracking the other driver with assistance from a helicopter as part of inquiries into the alleged stabbing of a Croydon woman which led to an alert being put out to track down a man from London.

Police are investigating the possibility that the alleged attack took place during a domestic row on Sunday (March 31).

The London-based Metropolitan Police followed up their own inquiries by sending out descriptions further afield of the car believed to have been driven by the suspect.

When the car was spotted later in the afternoon police cars and a helicopter were detailed to follow it.

Police say the crash happened when the suspect’s car emerged from the junction, which has clear Give Way signs because of the junction with the busy main road.

Deaks Lane, a narrow, winding, and in parts hilly route, runs about three miles from the A272 at the hamlet of Ansty across countryside to the Cuckfield-Staplefield Road.

After the crash the two police officers and the suspect were treated at the Royal

Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and later discharged.

The London man was kept in hospital, also with minor injuries, and later arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

The road was shut for six hours on Sunday afternoon and early evening. Crews from Haywards Heath, Burgess Heath and Crawley helped at the scene.

Sussex Police said: “The incident was passed to Sussex Police’s Professional Standards Department as a matter of routine.

“Sussex Police would like to thank drivers for their patience.

“Both officers have been discharged from hospital following treatment for minor injuries.

“The other man remains in hospital also with minor injuries and has been arrested on behalf of the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of the attempted murder of a woman who is known to him.”

The accident meant that hundreds of drivers had to make diversions around the route, which passes Whitemans Green and is on the entry to the village of Cuckfeld.