The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found no evidence of misconduct by police during a pursuit in which three Auckland teenagers died.
Lance David Lumsden Duff (16), Cheyenne Horace Freeman (19) and Walter James Russell (17) were killed when the Honda Prelude Lance was driving crashed at an off-ramp on Auckland’s North Western Motorway in the early hours of Sunday 24 December 2006.
The crash followed a 2 minute 35 second pursuit which had begun when Lance sped off from police after being stopped for speeding in central Auckland.
The Prelude reached speeds of over 200kph during the pursuit. Pursuing police also briefly reached a speed of about 200kph on the motorway just before the Prelude crashed.
Witnesses said Lance had previously driven at speeds of up to 200kph three times during the night. He had also fled police on the evening of Saturday 23 December after being stopped for speeding at 93kph in a 50kph area.
The Authority found that a pursuit speed of 200kph ‘was not justified under the circumstances’, but was satisfied that the officers would have abandoned the pursuit if their speed had remained that high any longer. The officers had not breached the law or the police pursuits policy, and the officers did not contribute to the deaths of the three teenagers.