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Man boards bus grabbing steering wheel then ‘runs amok’ trying to access drivers’ cars near QMC in Nottingham

An off-duty cop helped detain a man who boarded a bus and grabbed hold of the steering wheel as it travelled along a busy road.

Earl Haye tried to take control of the bus in Derby Road, near the QMC in Nottingham, during morning rush-hour.

The incident happened during a rampage that also saw him attempt to get into people’s cars as he ran amok in traffic.

At one point he jumped onto a car and smashed its windscreen by punching it. He then got into the back of another car that was slowly moving along before being pulled out by police, who were quickly at the scene.

Four police officers were assaulted by Haye as they wrestled to detain the 48-year-old in the street.

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Haye, of Lorne Walk, St Ann’s, has been given a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to three counts of assault by beating of an emergency worker, common assault of an emergency worker, two counts of causing criminal damage and causing danger to road users.

He was sentenced to 13 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months after appearing at Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday (22 March 2022). He was also ordered to undertake 30 days of rehabilitation activity.

The drama began at 7.15am on 1 November last year when Haye boarded a bus and began shouting and swearing at the driver.

His erratic behaviour was observed by an off-duty sergeant sat at the back of the bus, who then identified himself to Haye as a police officer.

Sergeant Graham Whitt, escorted Haye off the bus but that was merely that the start of the commotion.

Haye then boarded a second bus and briefly grabbed hold of the steering wheel. CCTV showed him place both hands on the wheel and attempt to steer it.

To the relief of passengers, he then got off the bus but then ran into moving traffic, where he was almost run over.

Sgt Whitt again jumped into action when he saw Haye approach a woman’s car and try to get in. He then jumped onto a Peugeot 107 before punching and smashing its windscreen.

With police backup on the way, Sgt Whitt suffered a torn ligament in his finger as he battled to apprehend Haye.

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X-ray showing Sergeant Whitt’s finger injury

Haye went on to assault three other police officers once back up arrived. Two were bitten on the arm, while another was spat at. To prevent further assaults, a spit hood – a loose, breathable fabric sack – was placed over his head to stop him biting or spitting on officers again.

Sgt Whitt – whose was treated in hospital for his fractured finger after the incident – said he and his colleagues were relieved Haye had been brought to justice.

Recalling the incident, he said: “Something that will stay in my mind for longer than the physical pain is the genuine looks of terror in the faces of members of the public, who by no fault of their own, were involved and forced to watch Haye’s rampage.

“I’m just glad I was in a position to intervene and help prevent a very serious incident. As it was, I suffered an injury to my finger. That’s a far better outcome.”

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cooper, of Nottinghamshire Police, said the quick response and bravery of the officers involved meant no members of the public were hurt during the incident.

He said: “This was an appalling incident that could have been worse had it not been for brave actions of Graham and his colleagues.

“Three police constables swiftly arrived on scene to help detain the man and, regrettably were assaulted. We have repeatedly stressed that this is not part of the job and any assault on emergency workers – physical or verbal – will be treated as a crime and dealt with accordingly.

“The safety and welfare of our officers is of great importance and the officers involved in this incident have been given the appropriate support by the force.”

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