Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Fatal pursuit of Harley Wilson and Michael Keepa


MEDIA STATEMENT

28 September 2012

EMBARGOED 10.00am

Fatal pursuit of Harley Wilson and Michael Keepa

An independent investigation of a fatal Police pursuit in Te Puke in October 2010 has found Police were justified in initially trying to stop the driver but should have subsequently abandoned the pursuit because of a number of risk factors.

At around 5.34am on Friday 8 October 2010, a stolen Toyota Hilux Surf 4x4 vehicle driven by Harley Kendrick Sean Wilson crashed on Jellicoe Street in Te Puke while fleeing Police. Mr Wilson, aged 21, and his passenger, Michael Adam Kaui Keepa, aged 25, both died at the scene.

The pursuit lasted for about 17 and a half minutes, and covered a distance of about 38.5 kilometres. It took place in three stages and involved an attempted use of road spikes during the first stage.

Background

Mr Wilson and Mr Keepa had stolen the vehicle from Levin and driven to the Bay of Plenty to visit family and friends. The pursuit started in Mt Maunganui when officers saw the vehicle pull over as it approached a traffic alcohol checkpoint and suspected the driver was trying to avoid Police.

Mr Wilson drove off at speed and was pursued by two Police vehicles from Mt Maunganui to Papamoa Beach, where he swerved to avoid road spikes. Police abandoned the pursuit.

However it was recommenced about one and half minutes later when another Police vehicle spotted the fleeing driver heading south towards Te Puke. A fourth Police vehicle then joined as the pursuit entered its third stage. As they reached Te Puke the Police vehicles were travelling 135 kph in a 50 kph zone. Officers had earlier reached a speed of up to 160 kph in a 100 kph zone.

Mr Wilson lost control of the Toyota at a corner and crashed down a grass bank into a lamp post and tree. A crash investigator estimated he was travelling at least 110 kph in a 50 kph zone. A blood sample showed Mr Wilson had 7 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 milligrams. 2


The Authority considered whether Police complied with the law and pursuit policy at each stage of the pursuit, specifically in relation to: the commencement and recommencement of the pursuit; communication; speed and manner of driving; and the ongoing risk assessment/abandonment.
The Authority also investigated whether Police complied with policy in relation to the use of road spikes, specifically in relation to: the pre-deployment vehicle check; the decision to use road spikes; selection of the deployment site; and the actual deployment.

Conclusions

Harley Wilson demonstrated by his actions that he was prepared to risk his life and the lives of others to avoid being caught by Police.

Officers were justified in attempting to stop Mr Wilson. They later discovered he was also driving a stolen vehicle. Although Police did consider the risks involved at each stage of the pursuit, these risk assessments did not properly take into account the sustained high speed of the fleeing vehicle, particularly on roads with 50-70 kph speed limits.

During stage 1, given the high speed and residential road, the pursuit should have been abandoned in the early stages when it reached speeds of 115 and 120 kph in a 50 kph area. Following this, there were several other reports of unacceptably high speed, which also should have led to the pursuit being abandoned. Two officers should have carried out a pre-deployment check of their patrol car and the road spike equipment carried in it before leaving the Police station.

During stage 2, the officers and the pursuit controller should have abandoned the pursuit once they realised that Mr Wilson had recommenced driving far in excess of the posted speed limit and had no intention of stopping for Police.

During stage 3, given the clear risk factors, the pursuit should have been abandoned before it reached the 70 kph speed zone on the outskirts of Te Puke.

The sustained high speeds reached by the pursuing officers were dangerous to the public, the occupants of the fleeing vehicle and the officers themselves.

Section 27 opinion

Section 27(1) of the Independent Police Conduct Authority Act 1988 requires the Authority to form an opinion as to whether or not any act, omission, conduct, policy, practice or procedure the subject-matter of an investigation was contrary to law, unreasonable, unjustified, unfair or undesirable. 3

Pursuant to section 27(1) of the Act, the Authority has formed the opinion that:
• the failure by Officers A and B and the pursuit controller to abandon the pursuit during stage 1 was unjustified;
• the failure of Officers C and D to carry out a pre-deployment check of their patrol car and the equipment carried in it was undesirable;
• the attempted use of road spikes on a vehicle travelling at more than 100 kph by Officers C and D and the pursuit controller was undesirable;
• the failure by Officer E and the pursuit controller to abandon the pursuit during stage 2 was unjustified; and
• the failure by Officer G and the pursuit controller to abandon the pursuit before it entered the outskirts of Te Puke was unjustified.

Section 27(2) recommendations
The Authority notes that the Fleeing Driver policy now requires officers to continually relay the applicable speed limits during a pursuit, and therefore makes no recommendation in that respect.
Pursuant to section 27(2) of the Act, the Authority recommends that:
• all frontline and NorthComms staff involved in this pursuit be reminded of the risks of pursuing at such a high speed; and
• all staff are reminded of the importance of carrying out a pre-deployment check of their patrol car and the equipment carried in it prior to use and of ensuring that the equipment carried is in a safe operating condition.

2012_Sept_28_Wilson_and_Keepa_Fatal_Pursuit_embargoed.pdf

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Last Rites For The TPP

The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is one of those litmus issues that has always had more to do with one’s place on the political spectrum than with any imminent reality.

To date, the Greens have opposed (a) a wide range of the leaked content of the TPP (b) the secretive way it has been negotiated and (c) the undemocratic way in which any final document would be ratified. Labour has shared some of those concerns, but while remaining generally supportive of the deal itself.

National has, for its part, been very enthusiastic about the TPP, while still giving assurances about Pharmac being protected... For the TPP’s friends and foes alike though, the end now seems nigh. More>>

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On The Farcical Elevation Of David Seymour

With the election won, it’s time to find jobs for the boy. David Seymour is the Act Party’s latest scrounger to be rewarded by the National Party, and not only with a seat in Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

As Key Mulls Joining ISIS Fighting: McCully Speech To UN Backs Security Council Bid

It is an honour to address you today on behalf of the Prime Minister and Government of New Zealand. Our General Election took place last week - our Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key is engaged in forming a government and that is why he is unable to be here in New York... More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Cunliffe Triggers Party Wide Leadership Contest

David Cunliffe has resigned as Labour Leader, but says he will seek re-election... If there is any contest the election will have to go through a process involving the party membership and union affiliates. More>>

ALSO:

Flyover Appeal: Progress And Certainty, Or Confusion And More Delays?

Lindsay Shelton: The Transport Agency, embarrassed by the rejection of its flyover alongside the Basin Reserve, says it’s appealing because the decision could “constrain progress.” Yet for most clear-sighted Wellingtonians a 300-metre-long concrete structure above Kent and Cambridge Terraces would in no way be seen as progress… More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Cunliffe’s Last Stand

Right now, embattled Labour leader David Cunliffe has three options. None of them are particularly attractive for him personally, or for the Labour Party... More>>

ALSO:

Key Seeking 'New Ideas': Look To Children’s Commissioner On Poverty - Greens

John Key should not reinvent the wheel when it comes to ideas for tackling child poverty, and instead look to the recommendations of the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Group on Child Poverty, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says. More>>

ALSO:

'Safe To Re-Enter' - OIA Docs: Safety Is Absolute Priority At Pike River Mine

“We understand that the time it is taking to complete our evaluation of the risks is frustrating for the family members and we are trying to complete this work as quickly as we can,” Ms Dunphy says. “It is Solid Energy’s responsibility to make this decision and we will do so, once we have all the information required to make a fully-informed decision.” More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news