Police stand by pursuit policy after Christchurch triple-fatal crash

Police are standing by their fleeing driver policy following a triple-fatal crash in Christchurch.

Brothers Glen and Craig Mcallister, aged 16 and 13, were killed along with 13-year-old Brooklyn Taylor on Sunday.

The trio had fled from police when the stolen Mazda Familia they were in hit spikes laid by police, crashed into a tree and burst into flames on Blenheim Rd. Police are yet to officially name the victims. 

The vehicle was travelling in excess of 130km/h in the Christchurch CBD when police began the pursuit, which lasted only one minute.

Police say they quickly abandoned the pursuit due to the dangerous way the vehicle was being driven. 

The incident is the third fatal crash involving fleeing drivers in Christchurch in less than two months. 

L-R: Craig Mcallister, 13, Brooklyn Taylor, 13 and Glen Mcallister, 16.
L-R: Craig Mcallister, 13, Brooklyn Taylor, 13 and Glen Mcallister, 16. Photo credit: Facebook
The crash wreck of the stolen white Mazda the three teens were in.
The crash wreck of the stolen white Mazda the three teens were in. Photo credit: NZ Police

Pregnant mother Renee Percy was killed alongside driver Dennis Tunnicliffe, 25, on December 5, when he tried to flee from police before crashing into a power pole in Aranui. 

And on November 16, 18-year-old Alexia Chrissy-Marie Nobel Hazelwood died when the car she was a passenger in went through a fence and hit a tree after the driver fled from police. 

Ms Percy's sister Kara-lee Kirk Cowie told Stuff she thinks police need to rethink how they pursued fleeing vehicles. 

"These fatal accidents are becoming all too common and as a family member of someone who passed away in a similar situation, I wouldn't wish it upon anyone – let alone someone's family."

However National road policing manager Superintendent Steve Greally says their fleeing driver policy is fit for purpose.

"We never want to see anybody injured or killed on the road.

"The deaths were devastating and I feel for their families and friends of the people who lost their lives."

Police stop around 3.5 million vehicles every year on the roads. 

Out of these vehicle stops, approximately 0.1 percent choose to flee from police, Superintendent Greally says. 

"These drivers pose a considerable risk to other road users, themselves, and their passengers.

"This is why we ask that people just pull over. Police do not want to see anybody needlessly die or be injured on our roads. If you stop and pull over we can talk. If you flee, you are risking lives, including your own and innocent members of your community."

But Superintendent Greally says there are always lessons, and police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority are reviewing fleeing driver incidents and police management of such events. 

The review report is expected to be finalised late next month.

According to the Automobile Association police pursuits result in around 500 crashes a year.

Police are appealing for witnesses to Sunday's crash.

Anyone who was in the Moorhouse Ave or Blenheim Road area around 11pm on Sunday or who saw the white Mazda prior to the crash are urged to contact police on 03 363 7400.