West Midlands mayor accuses BBC of ‘trivialising’ moment car nearly crushed mother and child in crash with ‘inappropriately light-hearted’ coverage on the News at Six ‘and finally’ slot
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The BBC has come under fire from the mayor of the West Midlands over its ‘inappropriately lighthearted’ coverage of a near-fatal crash in Solihull.
Andy Street said Tuesday’s News at Six ‘trivialised’ footage of a car flipping onto its side and nearly crushing a mother and her child, who miraculously escape unharmed.
In a letter to the corporation’s head of editorial complaints, Mr Street, who is the most senior Tory outside of London, said the incident was framed as a ‘quirky ‘and finally’ story’.
The ‘and finally’ slots on evening news broadcasts are traditionally reserved for light-hearted or unusual stories, to lighten an otherwise serious current affairs programme.
The segment was presented by Sophie Raworth, who adopted a light-hearted tone and can be heard letting out a half-chuckle while the footage plays, telling viewers: ‘Just incredible, isn’t it?’
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Video shows the mother pushing her child in a pram when the car veers off the side of the road
Out of nowhere, a car starts hurtling towards them on the pavement before it flips on its side
The segment on the crash was presented by Sophie Raworth, who adopted a light-hearted tone and can be heard letting out a half-chuckle while the footage plays, telling viewers: ‘Just incredible, isn’t it?’
As the package ended, Raworth repeated a quote of a witness to the crash who said he was ‘properly shocked’
As the package ended, Raworth repeated a quote of a witness to the crash who said he was ‘properly shocked’.
She added: ‘You would be if that happened!’
Mr Street’s letter to BBC complaints boss Fraser Steel, which is co-signed by Lucy Harrison from the charity RoadPeace and West Midlands cycling tsar Adam Tranter, said: ‘We are writing to express our profound concern over the portrayal of this incident in an inappropriately lighthearted fashion.
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‘Given that road collisions often have a serious psychological effect on the victims and their families, the decision to include this incident in this way was deeply troubling.
‘Road collisions should be treated with the seriousness they deserve and should not be trivialised as a quirky ‘and finally’ story.
‘The report also missed the opportunity to explain that the serious incident is being investigated by police.’
The letter went on to urge the BBC to ‘re-evaluate its approach to reporting on road crashes’ to ensure it adopts ‘a more responsible and emphatic stance in future broadcasts’.
It concluded: ‘The manner of driving in this clip clearly needs serious police investigation, serious journalistic reporting and it should not become an item of light entertainment.’
The heart-stopping CCTV footage shows the moment a woman pushing her daughter in a pram as a Peugeot on its side comes hurtling towards them.
She quickly manages to steer the pram to the left as the vehicle strikes a pole before landing on its side.
As the mother braces for impact, turning away from the car, it smashes into a nearby lamppost
Miraculously, the mother and her daughter escaped from the crash without serious injuries
A BBC spokesman said: ‘We are aware of Andy Street’s letter and will be replying to his complaint when we have considered his comments’
Incredibly, police said the woman and the child were left shaken but not seriously injured.
The little girl, thought to be aged around two, was taken to hospital with injuries to her leg.
The driver of the car, a woman in her 40s, was treated in hospital for cuts.
The crash happened near a zebra crossing in Olton, Solihull, just after 4pm on Saturday, December 16.
West Midlands Police said no arrests had been made, but officers were ‘investigating the incident’. The driver was said to be ‘assisting’ the force with its inquiries.
Police launched a crackdown on dangerous driving in the region over the summer after a spate of horrific road deaths led to widespread public anger.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘We are aware of Andy Street’s letter and will be replying to his complaint when we have considered his comments.’
Andy Street said Tuesday’s News at Six ‘trivialised’ footage of a car flipping onto its side and nearly crushing a mother and her child, who miraculously escape unharmed
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