10 October 2013 - The Independent Police Conduct Authority today released its summary report into the death of Rocky Joe Kohatu Hepi following a Police pursuit in Nawton, Hamilton earlier this year.
Mr Hepi, the driver of a stolen Nissan Maxima, was carrying two passengers when the car he was driving crashed into a stone retaining wall. Mr Hepi died at the scene from the injuries he received as a result of the crash, while his passengers suffered injuries.
In the early hours of Wednesday 6 February 2013 Police saw the Nissan Maxima travelling east on Rotokauri Road with its lights off.
The officer suspected the driver was intoxicated. Although he signalled Mr Hepi to stop, the vehicle accelerated. Mr Hepi, a learner driver, then began to drive erratically and due to his speed and continued unsafe manner of driving the officer decided to abandon the pursuit. As the officer drove slowly over a rise on Baverstock Road he saw Mr Hepi lose control of his vehicle and crash into a stone retaining wall on the corner of Baverstock Road and Wexford Rise.
Independent Police Conduct Authority Chair Judge Sir David Carruthers said this was a pursuit which lasted 43 seconds and covered approximately 1.1km prior to the crash.
“It was a tragic incident caused by the actions of Mr Hepi that resulted in his death and caused serious injury to one of his two passengers.
“In this instance the Authority has not found any breach of Police policy however, the Authority is continuing its discussions with Police about a general review of policies connected with the pursuit of fleeing drivers,” Sir David said.