Family urges harder line on police pursuits
The family of an Auckland woman, one of two killed in a high-speed chase, say they want tougher penalties for fleeing drivers and more accountability put on police actions.
Connor Talaimanu, 29, and Sharina Storm Meuli, 25, were killed in a crash on St Lukes Rd, Morningside, on October 23 last year. The car’s driver, Prushya Chaichumphon, was first spotted by police travelling at 133km/h in an 80km/h zone.
However, it quickly rose beyond 160km/h as he drove dangerously across all four lanes of an Auckland motorway.
A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority, released on Thursday, revealed the officer pursuing the group drove at speeds of up to 200km/ h during the 1 minute and 16 second pursuit and classified it as dangerous and unjustified.
It also stated that the officer should have faced a criminal investigation — but police say it was now too late to consider charges.
Chaichumphon was last week sentenced to three years’ jail for two charges of reckless driving causing death and two charges of reckless driving causing injury.
A Meuli relative yesterday told the Herald they just wanted laws to start changing so other families didn’t lose their family members as well. Police also needed to take responsibility.
“That’s all we want. Tougher penalties for drivers who take innocent lives, and the law where police wouldn’t pursue a chase with dangerous speeds and just take a number plate [instead].