14 November 2013
The Independent Police Conduct Authority today released its report into the death of 18 year-old James Dean Miles following a Police pursuit north of Katikati in late 2012, finding Police followed all relevant Policy and acted appropriately during the pursuit.
On 12 November 2012 Police received a report that a Hyundai vehicle had dangerously overtaken a truck and trailer unit on State Highway 2 north of Waihi. In responding to this report a Police officer left Waihi Police station and attempted to catch up with the Hyundai, which Mr Miles was driving. At this time the officer was also advised that the Hyundai was stolen. A second officer was also dispatched from Katikati to assist.
After following Mr Miles, who was at this time driving normally in a line of traffic, the second officer attempted to catch up to Mr Miles. As the officer approached the top of Kauri Point Road he saw the Hyundai, approximately 150 metres ahead, accelerate in an effort to evade apprehension. At this time the pursuit began.
The officer advised Police communications that the Hyundai had failed to stop and after temporarily losing sight of the vehicle the officer saw Mr Miles overtake a mobile home travelling down Young’s Hill before overtaking a second vehicle.
Shortly after the officer reported that the Hyundai had collided with an oncoming vehicle. The officer called for fire and ambulance units but Mr Miles died at the scene. The driver of the oncoming car sustained multiple fractures to his right leg as well as cuts to his left leg and head.
Witnesses subsequently told Police that Mr Miles’ vehicle has crossed into the oncoming lane moments before the collision.
In releasing this report Independent Police Conduct Authority Chair Judge, Sir David Carruthers said this was a short pursuit that covered approximately 1.3 kilometres and lasted 42 seconds.
“During that time Police involved complied with policy in commencing the pursuit. They properly assessed the risks involved during the pursuit, and informed the Police Communications Centre of their assessments.
“It was a tragic incident caused by the actions of Mr Miles, an unlicensed driver at the time of the incident that resulted in his death and caused injury to others.
“In this instance the Authority has not found any breach of Police policy. However, the Authority is continuing to work closely with Police in a revision of policies connected with the pursuit of fleeing drivers,” Sir David said.