The Independent Police Conduct Authority today released two separate reports relating to incidents involving Police driving in Auckland in 2012. One resulted in the serious injury of two young men during a Police pursuit in Mt Eden, and the other involved the death of a woman in Flatbush following a collision with a Police car engaged in urgent duty driving at the time.
Independent Police Conduct Authority Chair Judge Sir David Carruthers said the Authority found Police were justified in commencing the pursuit and urgent duty driving and that the officers involved complied with the law and Police policy throughout each incident.
The Mt Eden incident resulted in the serious injury of Mr Akshay Fenn and his passenger following a Police pursuit in July 2012.
On Saturday 28 July 2012 Mr Fenn, who was carrying one passenger on his motorcycle despite holding only a restricted motorcycle licence, fled Police after being signalled to stop when he was recorded speeding and travelling in a bus lane. Instead of pulling over Mr Fenn took steps to evade Police by weaving in and out of traffic and driving through a red light. As the officer in pursuit of Mr Fenn turned a corner he saw the motorcycle, about 300 metres ahead, collide with another vehicle.
Mr Fenn and his passenger were thrown from the motorcycle. Mr Fenn suffered several fractures to both legs while his passenger sustained a serious head injury. The driver of the other vehicle suffered minor injury.
“This was an accident caused by the actions of 17 year-old Mr Fenn that resulted in serious injury to himself and his passenger,” Sir David said.
The Flatbush incident resulted in the death of Mrs Liku Onesi when a vehicle driven by her husband collided with a Police patrol car on the morning of 22 August 2012.
Earlier that morning Police received a report of a burglary in progress involving up to six people. The officer involved in the collision responded to the incident and as he drove down Ormiston Road he engaged in urgent duty driving, which involved him driving at speed with the patrol car’s red and blue flashing lights and siren activated.
At the same time Mr Onesi had stopped in the westbound lane of Ormiston Road and was signalling to turn right into the driveway of a church. Mr Onesi turned through a line of heavy traffic and into the path of the oncoming Police car.
Despite the officer’s urgent braking, the Police car and Mr Onesi’s Mitsubishi Pajero collided causing Mrs Onesi to be thrown from the vehicle. Mrs Onesi died in the ambulance on the way to hospital.
“The death of Mrs Onesi was a tragic accident and involved unique circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable by the officer involved,” Sir David said.
“While in these instances the Authority has not found any breaches of Police policy, the Authority is continuing its discussions with Police about a review of policies connected with the pursuit of fleeing drivers,” he said.