25 Feb 2014

Object that killed driver still a mystery

10:44 am on 25 February 2014

Police say new tests have got them no closer to finding out what flew through a car's windscreen near Wanaka, killing the driver.

Rutger Hale was driving along State Highway 6 between Lake Hawea and Albert Town Road with his girlfriend on 24 October last year when an object punctured his windscreen, struck him in the head, and flew out the back window.

The 22-year-old had recently moved from Auckland to the Hawea area with his girlfriend. She was unharmed in the incident and managed to lift his foot from the accelerator and steer the Subaru Legacy stationwagon to the side of the road.

The unknown object made a fist-sized hole in the windscreen and shattered the back window.

Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis said on Monday that tests on material from Mr Hale's car revealed the object was made of or contained stainless steel used in vehicle parts, tools and cookware.

However, he said, there's not enough new information to advance the case, which will remain open.

Mr Inglis said police have discussed the latest findings with Mr Hale's family.

"They would like a conclusion, they would like to know what's caused this death. It's still an open inquiry for us - we'd love to be able to get a result from them and find out what did cause this tragic death."

The latest test findings will be referred to the coroner. Last year, police determined that there was no sinister or malicious intent.