Police speed in fatal pursuit unjustified - IPCA
Fri, 22 Jun 2012 12:00p.m.
By Dan Satherley
A police officer driving an unmarked car in a fatal pursuit in 2010 reached speeds that were not justified, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has ruled.
Api Kao Aue, 33, died on the night of December 4, 2010, after he lost control of the Subaru Impreza he was driving, colliding with a steel signpost near the corner of Kirkbride and Ascot Roads in Mangere, Auckland.
His two passengers were seriously injured.
A passenger spoken to by police said all three of the car's occupants – including the driver – had been "drinking heavily".
He told police he had asked Mr Aue to slow down, but Mr Aue had responded by turning up the stereo.
He says at no time did anyone in the car mention the presence of the police car.
The pursuit was initiated when police saw the Subaru exceeding the speed limit, failing to indicate and driving on the wrong side of the road.
A couple of minutes into the pursuit, both vehicles were travelling in excess of 100km/h. Police briefly considered abandoning the pursuit, but the fleeing vehicle then spun out and hit the signpost.
The officer in the passenger seat of the unmarked car had just told the police dispatcher their current speed was 150km/h.
“I remember thinking when I informed comms of our speed, it was a bit quick,” the officer told the IPCA.
The other officer – the one behind the wheel – however said he "felt at the time that this speed was still safe [to] maintain in the circumstances".
The top speed of approximately 150km/h was reached only for "a relatively short time prior to the crash", reports the IPCA.
Although the pursuit was justified, the IPCA said the speeds reached by the police vehicle were not because:
Aside from the brief period where the police vehicle reached 150km/h, the pursuit was conducted in accordance with police policy.
Mr Aue was later found to be over twice the legal alcohol limit.
The IPCA has recommended the officer be reminded of the risks of pursuing fleeing drivers at such a high speed.
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11/01/2013 8:14:22 p.m.
betty kao Aue wrote:
I MISS U EVERDAY MY BORTHER !!!
NEVER MISS A DAY THAT I HAVENT CRIED
23/06/2012 5:17:21 p.m.
Ruth, sometimes it isn't as simple as that as the vehicle is stolen, there are no rego plates on the vehicle, the officers haven't got close enough to see the rego plates, the rego plates are stolen, vehicle registered to a company or person's unknown so it's not always as black and white as obtaining the rego details and then following up with the owner of the vehicle and who said the owner is always gonna tell you who the driver is anyway!
22/06/2012 6:11:26 p.m.
There comes a point when it's not just the crim that's the threat to the public - that seems to be the whole point of this story. If police find themselves doing 150 k in a 60 k zone, in an unmarked car, at nighttime, with pedestrians and other traffic around - is it really worth it? Why not take the licence plate and turn up later to arrest him. Even the police officer said "it was a bit quick". Can I just ask how on earth a chasing police car can actually stop a driver like this? Run him off the road? It's unsafe for the police too if they end up crashing themselves. Lets keep it in proportion - the discipline recommended here is to "remind" the officer of the risks of speeding. Seems reasonable.
22/06/2012 5:18:49 p.m.
This is a difficult issue because of the danger to innocent road users. Having a policy of always stopping when the pursuit becomes dangerous,can encourage peaple to drive dangerously if pursued.On the other hand it isnt good to have police hyped up with adrenilin causing accidents with innocent motorists. I think our police manage this delemma as well as it can be handled. Its good that they have to radio control for all pursuits, as this allows options such as road spikes or the eagle helicopter to be considered. I have no sympathy for a fleeing driver that ends up injured or dead......sucessful outcome
22/06/2012 2:25:27 p.m.
If someone decides to flee from Police then i beleive that the pursuit should not be abandoned until the offenders are apprehended.
If the fleeing driver crashes and kills someone then they should be charged with the highest degree of murder.
22/06/2012 12:51:44 p.m.
Well done, IPCA. Now you've just made it clear to crims that they will escape if they speed at 150kph.
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