RSS expert analyses Facebook video
to prove journalist was driving at
A Road Safety Support (RSS) expert analysed a Facebook video and used measurements on Google Earth to secure the conviction of a motoring journalist who filmed himself driving at nearly 100mph on a notoriously dangerous road.
Forensic video analyst Steve Callaghan, of RSS, examined the footage posted on social media by Joe Achilles, which showed him driving an Audi R8 along the winding A57 Snake Pass last November.
Officers from Derbyshire Constabulary’s Roads Policing Unit spotted the video online and could see the car was travelling at well over the speed limit.
As members of RSS, the force asked for Mr Callaghan’s help with the case. Using state of the art technology, he was able to work out exactly how fast the Audi R8 was travelling.
Sergeant Adam Shipley said: “At that point we turned to Road Safety Support.
“RSS provide help in all sorts of road safety matters to forces around the country; however, ours was a very specific request.
“We needed to be able to prove the speed the car was travelling at along what, myself and my team know only too well, is one of our most deadly roads.”
Mr Callaghan said: “I examined the video file and was able to find the location of the incident, starting at the car park of the Snake Pass Inn, driving east towards Sheffield.
“The Facebook video showed road markings and traffic signs that were distinctive, and which were able to be identified in the video as well as the Google Earth Pro application.
“I drove through the scene at a later date and used a calibrated measuring device to verify the distances.
“Distances between the signs were measured with the application and the timing of the journeys between the signs was calculated from the video file.”
With the distances and times established it was possible to calculate a series of average speeds between the landmarks. Eleven average speeds were calculated as the £100,000 super car was driven towards Sheffield in the face of oncoming traffic. Not one of the eleven speeds was within the 50mph limit. The slowest he was travelling was found to be 58mph – the fastest was 93mph.
Achilles, 40, of Village Road, Denham, Uxbridge, was summonsed to Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court where he was found guilty of speeding.
He appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court on Wednesday 16 October and was handed a fine of £615, ordered to pay costs of £620 and his licence endorsed with six points.
Sergeant Shipley said: “This type of driving is careless, reckless and selfish. On this occasion, thankfully nobody died, but all too often the outcome is very different.
“For a man who drives for a profession I am appalled that he seemingly has so little value for the lives of other road users. The roads of the UK are not race tracks and should not be used as such.
“Strapping a Go Pro to the side of a car and driving in this manner – all in a bid to get viewers on social media – is quite frankly pathetic.
“I hope this case sends a message to others like Joe Achilles who think they can come to our county and put lives at risk.
“We may not see you at the time but know that we have the capability to ensure that you are brought to justice.”