Brad Takairangi: Hull Kingston Rovers rugby player avoids jail after crashing head-on into police car while driving wrong way down the A63

A Super League rugby player has avoided jail despite crashing head-on into a police officer's patrol car while on the wrong side of the road.

Humberside Police were called to reports of a vehicle driving westwards on the eastbound carriageway of the A63 in Hull in the early hours of January 2 this year.

PC Thomas Elvidge responded in a marked BMW, but the car driven by Hull Kingston Rovers centre Bradley Takairangi, 32, struck him head-on at between 60-70mph.

Takairangi, of Anlaby, an Australian national who has represented New Zealand internationally through ancestry, gave a roadside breath reading that was twice the legal limit for alcohol.

Brad Takairangi (middle)

The rugby star, who signed for Hull KR in 2020 and was suspended by the club after the incident, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and drink driving and was today given a 12-month suspended prison sentence at Hull Crown Court.

He was also ordered to complete 300 hours of unpaid work in the community - which is likely to be youth coaching at nine amateur rugby league clubs in Hull and the East Riding.

He was made to pay PC Elvidge £2,000 in compensation and was banned from driving for two years, after which he must take an extended re-test.

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The court was told a driver who called 999 reported that he had narrowly avoided colliding with Takairangi's car near the Daltry Street flyover before PC Elvidge joined the road eastbound at the Melton junction.

The court was shown dashcam footage from the police car of the moment Takairangi maintained his speed and struck the officer's vehicle head-on. PC Elvidge was left with knee and neck injuries, though their severity fell short of the threshold required for the more serious charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The constable's victim impact statement detailed how he had received weekly counselling since the collision and was left unable to go to the gym or play sports. He said the crash had 'changed his view of life' and given him a different perspective about the dangers posed by the public.

Passing sentence, Judge John Thackray clarified that the sportsman would have been treated the same by the court had he been 'a plumber, bricklayer, doctor or lawyer'.

"You should not have been behind the wheel, such was your level of intoxication. Is is entirely a matter of chance that you did not kill someone. You caused significant injuries and their effects are long-lasting.

"I take into account your mitigation, your previous good character, attempts to rehabilitate yourself and genuine remorse shown."

Judge Thackray added that the junior coaching must be 'in excess' of any community work already undertaken as part of Takairangi's contract, and that clubs would be given the choice as to whether to offer him involvement.

"Parents and clubs will be consulted, as some may feel, understandably, that you are not an appropriate role model. Yet others may wish to take advantage of your skills and experience."