Fam­ily urges harder line on po­lice pur­suits

Hawke's Bay Today - - Nation - Belinda Feek

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].

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