Pedestrian badly injured by police van in Bideford

Scene of police van crash in Bideford
Image caption The road was closed for several hours

A woman is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after being hit by a police van in north Devon.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the pedestrian was struck by the marked Ford Transit in New Road, Bideford, while it was on routine patrol at about 19:15 GMT on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old sustained a head injury. The male driver, a serving officer, was uninjured, police said.

The officer has been suspended from driving, pending an investigation.

'Poorly lit street'

The woman was initially taken to North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple but was later airlifted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

Officers from the force's serious collisions investigation unit closed the road at the scene, near Longbridge Wharf, for several hours.

Devon and Cornwall Police said they had referred the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and had asked Avon and Somerset Police to oversee an investigation.

Ch Insp Toby Davies, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said specially-trained officers were offering support to the family of the injured pedestrian.

He said: "Our thoughts are with the woman and her family.

"This is being fully investigated to establish exactly how it occurred.

"As is standard practice, the officer has been suspended from driving.

"He is clearly very upset and is being offered support by his colleagues at this time."

Local man Stephen Grey, who was in the area about an hour after the collision, said it was currently a "very poorly lit street".

He said: "It's very dark and it's not a great place to be at night if you're a pedestrian."

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