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Police complied with law and policy in triple fatal pursuit

17 December 2010

Police complied with law and policy in triple fatal pursuit

The Police pursuit of a car that crashed, killing three people, was conducted according to law and policy.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has released the report of its investigation of the fatal pursuit in central Christchurch early on the morning of 10 July 2010.

The pursuit had lasted approximately 30 seconds when the vehicle’s driver, 27 year old Tama Dobson, crashed into a concrete pole, killing the front seat passenger, 26 year old Shannon Smiler. Mr Dobson and another passenger, 20 year old Karleane Magon, died later in hospital.

There were six people in the Mitsubishi Lancer, which had initially been pulled over by Police when they noticed it was overloaded. However once the Police officer left her car in order to speak to the driver, he accelerated away through a red light. The driver lost control of the Mitsubishi while attempting a right turn, and it slid sideways into the pole.

The rear tyres had little or no tread, and the driver was over the blood alcohol limit.

The Authority Chair, Justice Lowell Goddard, said the two Police officers involved complied with law and policy throughout the short pursuit. None of their actions were contrary to law, unreasonable, unjustified, unfair or undesirable, pursuant to the Independent Police Conduct Authority Act 1988.

The Authority has made no recommendations.



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