Wellington Scoop

Three killed in crash following police pursuit

Three people died early yesterday morning in a crash which followed a police pursuit on State Highway 6 near Nelson. They were 25-year-old Johnathan Tairakena and 33-year-old Phillip Jamie Stretch, who were in the car being chased by the police, and 53-year-old Carmen Marie Yanko, who was in a car driving in the opposite direction. Here’s how the police describe the crash:

News from NZ Police
Around 5:40am, Nelson Police were conducting enquiries to locate a wanted person. As part of these enquiries Police attempted to stop a vehicle on Gladstone Road in Richmond.

The car failed to stop and fled towards State Highway 6, overtaking a truck and moving onto the wrong side of the road where it crashed into a vehicle travelling north.

Three people died as a result, two of the deceased were from the fleeing vehicle and the third person was an innocent member of the public.

“An outcome like this is the last thing Police want to see,” said Superintendent Mike Johnson, Tasman District Commander:. “We are working to notify and support their next of kin, as well as supporting our staff involved. These incidents are always extremely testing for Police. They are fast-moving, unpredictable and high pressure situations that require quick judgements. Ultimately, Police are here to protect our community. Our staff must strike a balance between the responsibility to protect life and the duty to enforce the law.”

There will be an internal investigation regarding the pursuit and the Independent Police Conduct Authority has also been formally notified, both of which are standard procedure.

A Serious Crash Unit investigation is also underway to establish the full circumstances of the crash.

Earlier report from NZ Police
Police and emergency services are in attendance at a fatal crash near Hope in the Tasman District. Two cars collided on State Highway 6 near Clover Road around 5:40am this morning. The road is currently closed with diversions in place. The Serious Crash Unit is on the scene and the road is expected to be closed for some time.

Statement from the children of Carmen Yanko:
We as Carmen’s children are heartbroken and reeling from this senseless tragedy that occurred early yesterday morning. She lived to be a mother and was there for us always. Carmen loved and lived fiercely and will be terribly missed by her family and friends.

Gordon Campbell: More crocodile tears shed by the police
RNZ: Innocent woman killed on way to work

1 comment:

  1. Ruz, 12. March 2018, 16:09

    Gordon Campbell has written a good opinion piece arguing that the the Police need to change how they deal with drivers who fail to stop. Basically the cost in lives is too high following Police pursuits. In yesterday’s chase, it is not clear exactly why the car was pursued. But fearing a public backlash over the deaths the Police have somehow released information detailing the criminal records of the occupants of the fleeing car. This seems to be a deliberate tactic by the Police to try and downplay their own error and is one that they have used before. I hope that the new Minister of Police demands of the Police that it find alternative ways of dealing with motorists who fail to stop.