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Driver dies in crash after police pursue speeding car

News from NZ Police
One person died in a crash in New Plymouth early this morning after a police pursuit.

The crash happened on Taharua Road around 12:40am, when a vehicle collided with a power pole.

The car had been identified by a Police patrol minutes earlier as travelling at excessive speed on Junction Street.

Police had initiated a pursuit when the vehicle failed to stop.

Shortly afterwards, the fleeing car collided with the pursuing patrol car on Junction Street, where the pursuit was abandoned.

Some minutes later a second patrol car located the fleeing vehicle on Taharua Road, where it had collided with a power pole. The sole occupant of the car died at the scene.

A number of investigations are underway – a Serious Crash Unit investigation and a Police internal investigation. The Independent Police Conduct Authority has been notified.

Statement by Superintedent Sue Schwalger, Central District Commander:
“First of all, I would like to offer my condolences to the family of the driver who has passed away today.

“hortly after 12:30 this morning, the driver of a BMW hatchback drove past a Police dog patrol at high speed on Junction Street in New Plymouth. The Police vehicle turned around and indicated for the BMW to stop, using its lights and sirens. When the vehicle failed to stop, a pursuit was initiated.

“The pursuit carried on for a few minutes until the BMW stopped suddenly and appeared to reverse toward the Police vehicle colliding with it. This disabled the Police vehicle, and the pursuit was called off.

“The driver of the BMW drove away at speed, and was found several minutes later by another patrol car, a short distance away. It had crashed into a power pole on Tarahua Road. Power lines were brought down as a result, and when it was safe to approach, it was discovered that the sole occupant of the vehicle was deceased.

“The road conditions at the scene of the crash were described as wet and greasy.

“Through our inquiries today, we have identified that the licence plates attached to the BMW had been stolen from a vehicle in Napier yesterday. The BMW at this stage does not appear to have been registered.

“As is standard for events like this, a number of investigations are underway. There is a Police Serious Crash investigation to establish the circumstances of the crash, as well as an internal Police investigation. The Independent Police Conduct Authority has also been notified.

“The last thing any Police officer wants to have happen when they are on shift is for any incident to end in a fatality. However, it is a sad fact that sometimes they do. Our staff always assess the risk of whether or not to pursue a driver who fails to stop for Police, and continue to monitor risk factors throughout.

“We take these decisions very seriously, and need to maintain a balance between ensuring public safety, and upholding the law.”