12 Jul 2010

Inquiry wanted into car crashes including police pursuits

10:54 pm on 12 July 2010

A road safety group is calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into all crashes, including police pursuits.

It follows a crash in Christchurch at the weekend in which a man was killed and a number of others seriously hurt when their car hit a power pole while fleeing the police.

The death is the ninth associated with police pursuits in recent months.

The police say officers had stopped the car for a routine check when it sped off through a red traffic light. The officers pursuing the car found it crashed into a power pole.

Candor Trust says far too many deaths are happening and officers need to stop chasing over trivial matters.

But the Police Association says that is ridiculous. It says drivers make the decision not to stop and any consequences lie with them.

The dead man was Shannon Smiler, 26, also known as Shannon Smiler-O'Connor. He was the front seat passenger.