05 August 2011
The investigation of a fatal Police pursuit in Christchurch in June 2010 has concluded officers were justified in commencing it and largely complied with policy throughout.
However they did not fully follow Police procedures when they decided to abandon the pursuit. The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found this was undesirable but had no bearing on the fatality.
Early on the morning of Sunday 20 June 2010, officers began pursuing Troy Peter Mackay in Blenheim Rd, Riccarton, when they saw his Subaru Impreza make a sudden lane change and accelerate towards them with a recorded speed of 72kph in a 60kph zone.
After a 5.8km pursuit that lasted almost three minutes, Mr MacKay lost control of the vehicle when it struck a concrete pedestrian haven in the middle of Halswell Rd and became briefly airborne. The car slid 64 metres before it struck a kerb and slid a further 38 metres along the grass verge before it collided with a tree. A Serious Crash Unit Investigator calculated the approximate speed of the Subaru when it struck the pedestrian haven as 151kph, and 105kph when it struck the tree. Mr Mackay died on the way to hospital and his two passengers suffered serious injuries.
Officers A and B were justified in law and under Police policy in commencing the pursuit. They also largely complied with policy throughout the pursuit other than fully communicating risk factors, including that Mr Mackay had slowed but failed to stop at a red light.
On abandoning the pursuit, the officers should have done so in full accordance with policy, by coming to a complete stop and turning off their lights and siren. The Authority accepts that the officers’ abandonment process had no bearing on the tragic outcome.
The Authority makes no recommendations.