The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that Police were justified in deploying spikes following a pursuit in Christchurch. The driver swerved to avoid the spikes, lost control and crashed into a tree. The driver, Glen McAllister (16yrs), his brother Craig McAllister (13yrs), and Brooklyn Taylor (13yrs) died at the scene.
At about 11.10pm on Sunday 13 January 2019, two officers were on patrol in Christchurch City and were stationary at a red traffic light on Colombo Street at the intersection with Brougham Street. They observed two Mazdas travelling closely together through the intersection at speeds in excess of 100kph in a 60kph zone.
The officers followed the Mazdas into Gasson Street but lost sight of one of them. They observed a male get into the back seat of the Mazda they could see, and immediately drive off at speed. Police engaged in a pursuit but abandoned it shortly after when the Mazda drove through a red light and continued to travel in excess of the speed limit.
Two other officers in the vicinity heard over the radio that the Mazda was heading towards them. One of them deployed road spikes and as the Mazda travelled over them, it left the road and hit a tree. The fuel tank ruptured and the vehicle caught fire. Police ran towards the vehicle, but due to the intensity of the fire, were unable to save the three occupants.
"The officer who laid the spikes conducted a sound risk assessment before deployment. His actions were proportionate to the threat the Mazda posed to the Police and public. The Authority accepts that the officer had legal grounds to deploy spikes and is not responsible for this tragic outcome," said Authority Chair Judge Colin Doherty.
The Authority also found that the pursuing officers did not know the identity of the occupants in the Mazdas.