27 Jun 2009

Officer involved in fatal crash should be disciplined, says father

12:55 pm on 27 June 2009

The father of a teenager who died when a car crashed during a high-speed police pursuit says it is wrong that the officer involved has escaped disciplinary action.

Jamie McElrea, 17, a passenger in the car, was killed when the vehicle in which he was a passenger crashed on Kahikatea Flat Road, north of Auckland, in April 2007.

The Independent Police Complaints Authority found that an un-named constable breached police policy and the high-speed pursuit should have been abandoned.

However police say the officer is not subject to disciplinary action because he is no longer a sworn member of staff.

The teenager's father, Mark McElrea, says he sees no point in police having pursuit policies unless officers adhere to them, and are disciplined for breaching them.

IPCA faults officer

The investigation concluded that the officer did not contact the police communications centre before beginning to chase the fleeing Subaru in his unmarked patrol car.

The Subaru reached speeds of 170km/h during the chase and overtook other vehicles on blind corners.

IPCA chair Justice Goddard said the officer should have abandoned the pursuit when the car overtook another vehicle.

However, she said the primary responsibility for the crash lies with the car's 18-year-old driver, Troy Anderson, who was inexperienced and lost control of his vehicle while speeding and intoxicated.