Otago Daily Times

Of­fi­cer’s vic­tim state­ment in­spires apol­ogy

- ROB KIDD Court re­porter Crime · Incidents · Victoria City · Otago Region · Dunedin · Toyota Motor Corporation · Toyota · BMW

A CEN­TRAL Otago po­lice of­fi­cer and the man who aimed a firearm at him af­ter a high­speed chase came to an un­likely truce yes­ter­day.

Jesse Daniel Nash (39) stole Se­nior Con­sta­ble Dar­ren Kidd’s pa­trol car and led po­lice on a pur­suit of nearly 200km which ended in Mil­ton on March 14.

In an un­usual step, the of­fi­cer of 12 years read an im­pas­sioned and re­veal­ing vic­tim im­pact state­ment in the Dunedin District Court yes­ter­day.

Snr Const Kidd said he was more than his oc­cu­pa­tion; he was a hus­band and fa­ther of a 2­year­old son.

“Those two peo­ple are why I put on the uni­form and go to work, my sole rea­son for liv­ing,” he said.

“Both of us were ex­tremely lucky your ac­tions didn’t re­sult in one of us be­ing shot.”

As Nash sped away in his car, the of­fi­cer said the re­lief was “im­mense and over­whelm­ing” and his thoughts im­me­di­ately turned to his loved ones.

The de­fen­dant stood in the dock, clearly moved by the man’s words, and was in­vited to re­spond by Judge Jim Large.

“Words can’t take it back but I re­ally re­gret what I did,” Nash said.

“No­one de­serves that in their life . . . I think about it ev­ery day.”

Snr Const Kidd thanked him for his apol­ogy.

Judge Large jailed Nash for five years on 16 charges, the sum to­tal of a crime­crammed month and a­half.

Through Fe­bru­ary, the de­fen­dant com­mit­ted var­i­ous driv­ing of­fences, stole fuel, led po­lice on a chase and threat­ened to kill some­one if they did not change a po­lice state­ment.

The worst, how­ever, was yet to come.

On March 14, Nash — who had 13 con­vic­tions for driv­ing while banned — pumped $64 of fuel from the Omarama Ser­vice Sta­tion and left with­out pay­ing.

Po­lice saw him near Tar­ras and tried to pull him over.

In­stead, Nash sped up to 180kmh and even road­spikes failed to end the pur­suit.

The de­fen­dant, the court heard, con­tin­ued at high speeds with sparks fly­ing from a wheel, ig­nit­ing sev­eral fires.

Po­lice pulled back but con­tin­ued the search for the fugi­tive down var­i­ous back roads.

Snr Const Kidd drove down a shin­gle road at the start of Cromwell Gorge and found Nash and the Toy­ota.

Rather than give him­self up, the de­fen­dant pulled a long­bar­relled air ri­fle from the boot and pointed it “di­rectly at the of­fi­cer” who was 30m away.

The of­fi­cer took cover in a stand of pine trees.

The term “run­ning for your life”, he said, had taken on new mean­ing since the in­ci­dent.

Nash dis­carded the firearm and drove off in the po­lice car which had been left idling.

Too con­spic­u­ous in the pa­trol ve­hi­cle, head­ing to­wards Alexan­dra on State High­way 8, the fugi­tive ap­proached a BMW driven by Gra­ham Robin­son and ac­ti­vated the car’s flash­ing lights.

For ex­tra le­git­i­macy, he donned a po­lice cap left in the ve­hi­cle and or­dered the driver to get out.

Af­ter quizzing Mr Robin­son about how to drive the BMW, Nash sped off again, leav­ing the be­wil­dered mo­torist at the side of the road along with the aban­doned po­lice car.

With Nash reach­ing speeds of 200kmh along SH8, po­lice re­fused to en­gage in a chase, set­ting up road spikes in­stead.

On the way into Mil­ton, the tyres were punc­tured.

Nash aban­doned the BMW in Park Rd — 270km from where he stole the fuel in Omarama.

Still, he re­fused to sur­ren­der.

The de­fen­dant evaded cap­ture by break­ing into a prop­erty be­ing re­fur­bished and spend­ing the night there.

At 10.30am the next day, Nash was fi­nally ar­rested af­ter ap­proach­ing strangers in Os­sian St and ask­ing to use their phone to ac­cess the in­ter­net to ar­range a lift.

Judge Large ac­knowl­edged the de­fen­dant had lived ‘‘a rocky road’’ and had de­vel­oped se­vere drug and al­co­hol de­pen­dency from trauma.

He said he had been un­sure about Nash’s con­tri­tion but to­day’s ex­change pro­vided some clar­ity.

“I think your re­morse and apol­ogy was gen­uine,” the judge said.

Ban­ning Nash from driv­ing for 13 months, he ac­knowl­edged the ban was aca­demic.

 ??  ?? Dar­ren Kidd
Dar­ren Kidd
 ??  ?? Jesse Nash
Jesse Nash

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