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Waikato Police credit seatbelt for saving woman's life

Waikato Police credit seatbelt for saving woman's life after fleeing driver's fatal crash

Hamilton Police are crediting a seat belt for saving a woman from serious injury or worse after a driver, who attempted to flee Police in a stolen car, crashed the vehicle in the west of the City this morning.

District Road Policing Manager, Inspector Marcus Lynam, said the crash, which happened shortly before 2am, was still being investigated by the Serious Crash Unit and would be the subject of two other enquiries.

"From what we know at present a Police patrol in Nawton noticed a car travelling on Rotokauri Rd without any headlights on so an officer activated the patrol car's lights and sirens with the intent of pulling the driver over and talking to the occupants.

"Though the vehicle initially slowed the driver has then accelerated away at high speed and the officer has notified the Northern Communications Centre that a pursuit has been initiated."

Mr Lynam said after travelling about a kilometre the officer has raised concerns about the offender's driving and radioed that the pursuit was being abandoned on Baverstock Rd.

"The officer has then crested a hill and saw the offending car in the distance appear to lose control and crash into a road sign before hitting a stone retaining wall near the intersection of Wexford Rise.

"The 17-year-old driver was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene despite first aid attempts of the officer and efforts by attending ambulance staff."

A male front seat passenger in the car suffered serious leg injuries in the crash while a female rear seat passenger, who was wearing a seatbelt, was unscathed.

Mr Lynam said the Independent Police Complaints Authority (IPCA), has been informed of the crash and the matter has been reported to the Coroner.

"Though the resulting investigations are in their early stages it appears the appropriate procedures in managing the fleeing driver incident were followed and this appears to have been an avoidable tragedy at a time when we should be celebrating our national day.

"While extending our sympathies to the family of the deceased we are also ensuring the appropriate welfare steps are being taken in relation to our officer who has gone from initiating a routine traffic stop for a vehicle being driven with no lights to having to try and save a young man's life."

End

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