A motorist who sped off from police was solely responsible for a crash that left seven people injured, an investigation has found.
The 28-year-old was chased by a marked police car with its blue lights on in December after officers recognised him as someone without a driving licence.
An investigation by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) found he “sped away, driving dangerously and at excessive speed”.
Officers pursued him for a short time, which Pirc said was “appropriate” in the circumstances.
They were then told to stop by the police area control room (ACR) as there were no road policing units available and no other tactics could be used to halt the car.
The Pirc report said: “The man then drove away from police along the A98, with witnesses describing the car as travelling at speeds of up to 100mph.
“Further along the road, the man attempted to drive between two cars sitting almost side by side, resulting in the car colliding into the back of one of the cars, causing that vehicle and the man’s car to spin off the road and collide with trees.”
The passenger in the 28-year-old man’s car and a female passenger in the other vehicle suffered serious injuries in the crash, with the man’s passenger airlifted to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.
Four people in the other car, including two young children, suffered minor injuries and were taken to Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin, Moray.
The 28-year-old man also suffered minor injuries.
Investigators found he was to blame for the collision.
The Pirc report states: “The man, who had numerous opportunities prior to the crash to stop his car or alter his driving behaviour, but chose not to, was solely responsible for the crash.”
The collision happened around 3.15pm on Thursday, December 26, 2019, on the A98 Fochabers to Banff road in Moray.
Pirc said the man was later convicted of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was sentenced to 30 months behind bars.
He was also banned from driving for nine years and three months.
Local area commander, Chief Inspector Norman Stevenson, of Police Scotland said: “Above all, my thoughts are with all those who were injured on the night – it would have been a very traumatic experience for everyone involved and one which could have been avoided was it not for the reckless and dangerous actions of the driver in question.
“He is currently serving a prison sentence and received a driving ban.”
He added: “Police Scotland’s priority is to protect the public and keep people safe.
“I acknowledge the officers’ appropriate response on the night.”