Mother lays complaint over WOF-less police car in son's fatal pursuit

Official Information Act documents obtained by NZME found the police car, whose warrant expired five days before the pursuit, had brake and seatbelt defects.
Official Information Act documents obtained by NZME found the police car, whose warrant expired five days before the pursuit, had brake and seatbelt defects. Photo credit: Newshub.

The mother of a teenage boy killed in a fatal pursuit is questioning why the police car involved didn't have a warrant of fitness.

While the warrant didn't factor into Levi Penberthy-Green's crash, his mother laid a complaint with the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) in February.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the 2015 crash, Donna Penberthy told NZME the lack of a WOF put the public at risk and was a "major concern" that had been "brushed under the carpet".

In 2017, the coroner found that despite the lack of WOF, there were no mechanical problems with the vehicle.

Official Information Act documents obtained by NZME found the police car, whose warrant expired five days before the pursuit, had brake and seatbelt defects.

The IPCA said the lack of WOF was an "oversight".

"Police should acknowledge that this error would likely have caused you additional distress while you grieved and came to terms with the tragic loss of your son, Levi.

"Police should also provide you with an explanation in respect of their procedure for WOF renewals and their rationale for not issuing an infringement notice," an IPCA spokesperson said.

Levi was killed in a short, low speed chase near Tauranga on April 11, 2015. He had been drinking at a party and drove away after he was assaulted, despite a lack of licence, warrant of fitness, or vehicle registration.

Police, who were called to the party, intercepted Levi and directed him to pull over, at which point Levi accelerated and lost control, sending the car rolling down a bank.

In November police and the IPCA announced a joint investigation into police chases following a number of fatalities last year.

Newshub.