29 Aug 2013

Fatal police crash couldn't be avoided - IPCA report

12:18 pm on 29 August 2013

A report into a police crash that killed a woman on her way to an Auckland church has found it couldn't be avoided.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has backed an officer who drove into her car at speed and the authority made no recommendations.

The officer who ploughed into the four-wheel-drive in which Liku Onesi was a passenger was travelling at up to 76km per hour when the accident happened, on Ormiston Road where the speed limit is 60km/hr.

He'd started an urgent response to a reported burglary on 22 August last year.

Mrs Onesi, who was being driven by her husband, was thrown from her vehicle and died in an ambulance from significant injuries.

The IPCA said on Thursday it's likely the officer would have seen her vehicle only half a second before the crash.

It said limited visibility caused by other traffic was a factor.

The authority says the officer's driving under urgency was justified because he was responding to a report of a crime in progress.

It said it was a tragic accident which the 11-year police veteran could not have reasonably foreseen.

The findings refer to the police officer only as Officer A and said he holds a gold class response driver certificate.

The report said he trains and reviews other officers in their driving and the use of road spikes.

His patrol car's data recorder showed he reached speeds of up to 100 kms/hr before the crash.

A police crash analyst found speed did not cause the crash, but did contribute to its severity.

Police said they accept the findings and extend their deepest sympathies to Mrs Onesi's family.

They say they've been working closely to support family members since the accident.