Otago Daily Times
Officer’s victim statement inspires apology
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.