In November 2013, Superintendent Christine Baulderstone (above), drove her car into pedestrian Sharon Smith.
A parliamentary hearing heard that Baulderstone – who once led South Australia Police’s anti-corruption unit – failed to assist her at the scene and offered no apology after the collision.
Ms Smith said she was crossing Bent Street in the Adelaide CBD when she was hit by a car that “inexplicably” lurched forward after stopping.
In what appeared to be a classic display of terrible SAPOL driving, Baulderstone had stopped her car, but then inexplicably accelerated forward as Ms Smith walked across the rode in front of her.
Ms Smith lost her balance and injured her knee in the collision, before she noticed the driver of the car was wearing a police uniform.
“I was very surprised that a police officer would have made such an error in judgment in deliberately moving the car forward the second time when it hit me,” she said.
“She motioned for me to come towards her. I thought she was going to ask if I was OK but she didn’t – she told me she had to ‘take my particulars’.”
In typical malicious SAPOL fashion, Baulderstone and a colleague attempted to shift the blame to the victim.
Ms Smith said Baulderstone told her she “shouldn’t have crossed the road in front of her”.
“At no time did she ask if I was OK, either physically or emotionally, or express any concern for my wellbeing or render assistance of any kind,” she said.
“Her attitude towards me was aggressive and accusatory, which left me rather confused and even more upset.”
“She had been the one in the wrong while I was injured and upset, yet she was behaving as if I was some kind of criminal.”
Following the crash, Ms Smith required an operation on her right knee and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Ms Smith said another officer also threatened to fine her for crossing the road.
“A police officer tried to tell me that, because Bent Street was a common thoroughfare for police officers leaving the police station, the usual road rules were reversed and that onus was on pedestrians to give way, rather than on drivers,” she said.
While police officers do indeed treat Bent Street as their own private lane, regularly parking on footpaths, the fact remains it is a public thoroughfare and there is no ‘reversal’ of traffic laws in that thoroughfare.
Despite her behaviour, Baulderstone received a promotion to her current position in January 2014 – two months after the incident.
“While I was threatened with being penalised for getting injured crossing the street, the person who hit me was promoted within SAPOL.”
She said her lawyer later lodged a Freedom of Information request to access security footage of the collision, but it was denied on the basis that the images had “gone missing”.
“I have never had so much as an apology of any kind from SAPOL,” she said.
Superintendent Baulderstone said she recalled hitting Ms Smith, but refused to answer some other questions because she did not believe they were relevant to the committee.
Presiding member Frank Pangallo said the questions were within the scope of the inquiry, and they related to a history of disclosure issues.