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Home / Publications and Media / 2019 media releases

Triple fatality in Nelson involving a fleeing driver

12 March 2019

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that Police officers were justified in pursuing a vehicle believed to contain a wanted offender on 11 March 2018. The pursuit ended when the fleeing driver overtook a truck, colliding with an oncoming vehicle. The occupants of both vehicles were killed on impact.

The pursuit began shortly after 5.30am. Police officers were observing a Richmond address in an attempt to locate a person wanted for arrest. They believed they saw that person leave the address in a car with a second person. Police signalled for the driver to stop, but he accelerated away at speed. Police commenced a pursuit.

The pursuit lasted for less than three minutes. The fleeing driver overtook a truck on State Highway 6, and collided with a vehicle driven by Carmen Yanko. Ms Yanko was killed on impact, as were Johnathan Tairakena and Phillip Stretch, the occupants of the fleeing vehicle. The person wanted for arrest was not in the fleeing vehicle.

"The Authority has determined that despite the tragic outcome resulting in three deaths, the pursuit was properly commenced and conducted safely and in accordance with Police policy and the law. The collision scene was managed safely" said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.

Public Report

Triple fatality in Nelson involving a fleeing driver (PDF 276 KB)
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