The kids who were killed in stolen car smash

Yesterday a horrible car smash in Christchurch that went up in flames, killing occupants, led the news.

The police are in difficult situations where dangerous use of lethal vehicles are involved. It has been reported that the car was driven through the city at over 130 km per hour, running red lights, in wet conditions. Some sort of accident was a clear possibility. So it happened.

Police officers were quickly on the accident scene, and were injured when they unsuccessfully tried to free the boys from the flaming wreck.

The role of the police in starting to chase the car, then withdrawing from the chase, then laying out road spikes that contributed to the accident, will get plenty of scrutiny in due course. It should be thoroughly investigated.

But what about the lives and deaths of the three teenagers? stuff has some initial insight in Young brothers killed after fleeing car explodes in ‘huge ball of fire

Stuff understands the boys are 16-year-old Glen Mcallister, who was believed to be driving the car, and 13-year-olds Craig Mcallister and Brooklyn Taylor.

The mother of two young boys killed alongside their friend after the fleeing car they were in exploded says she’s in “severe shock”.

That’s understandable.

Glen and Craig’s mother, Juanita Rose, told Stuff she was in “severe shock” after losing her two sons, who she called her “babies, my life”.

Their sister posted a tribute to her “handsome brothers” on Facebook.

“Losing one of you is hard enough, but both of you going has destroyed me. Thirteen and 16 is way too young to be gone.

But these three young teenagers were out near midnight driving a car they had stolen. And it is claimed they had a habit of stealing cars.

Taylor’s older sister, TeAri Taylor, said her younger brother’s life began to unravel when their father died nine years ago.

Taylor said she felt sick when she got a call on Monday morning to say her brother had died.

I know the feeling, albeit in less horrific circumstances.

“He was a broken child.They were attached at the hip, Dad was his best mate.”

Brooklyn was in the care of Oranga Tamariki at the time of his death.

TeAri Taylor spoke with him in April last year, after the death of their grandmother, about moving up to Wellington to live with her.

“At the time he wasn’t going through a very good situation, wrong people, wrong crowd – just basically couldn’t get out of the situation that he was in,” she said.

It sounds like he was certainly in the wrong crowd in the wrong car on Sunday night.

“Everybody makes mistakes, but that’s your life. They were only 13 and 16 – it’s absolutely disgusting, they had so much to live for.

“As much as I’m broken that we have to bury my baby brother, it wasn’t an easy decision or situation to deal with for those police to have to deal with.”

It is understood the three boys had regularly stolen cars throughout the city in recent months. The Mazda Familia involved in the crash was first seen speeding in central Christchurch at 11.13pm on Sunday, reaching speeds in excess of 130kmh and running red lights on Moorhouse Ave. It had been stolen earlier that night.

If it is understood that “the three boys had regularly stolen cars throughout the city in recent months” how could they have still been able to be out stealing and driving on Sunday night?

The police will hopefully learn from how they handled the incident. Some of the police officers are likely to be haunted by what they had to deal with.

Oranga Tamariki may also hopefully learn something from their involvement.

But will there be lessons for families of out of control teens?

Also from Stuff – The faces of fatal police chases: Teens make up half of crash victims

Teenagers make up almost half of all victims of fatal police pursuits reported in New Zealand in the last three years.

Stuff has been able to confirm the identities of 27 people who died as a result of car crashes where police were in pursuit at some point since 2015. This includes drivers, passengers, and innocent road users who were hit.

Of the 27 fatalities, 13 were teenagers, some as young as 12 years old.

 

 

 

 

Another police chase fatality

Deaths as a consequence of police chases (more accurately as a result of dangerous driving trying to avoid being apprehended) have been contentious. Each incident raises questions over whether police should get involved in chases at all.

More so when an innocent member of the public is a victim, as happened over the weekend.

RNZ: Three dead in Tasman police chase

Police had attempted to stop a vehicle while conducting enquiries to find a wanted person when the driver fled.

The driver crashed into another vehicle while attempting to overtake a truck, police said.

Two people in the fleeing car died along with a member of the public in another car.

Tragic for the innocent victim and their family.

Police said fleeing incidents were “extremely testing”.

“They are fast-moving, unpredictable and high pressure situations that require quick judgements.”

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the crash was a tragedy for the families of those who died, and the officers involved.

He said police were already working with the IPCA on a review of pursuit policies and practices, and he had asked for an update on progress.

The review is due to be completed later this year.

I’m sure the police have reviewed their chase procedures before.

The current review was reported last November: Police pursuits under review as officers report 300 incidents a month

New Zealand Police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) have been working together since July to review pursuits.

About nine drivers a day attempted to flee police last year.

Although fleeing driver events represented just 0.1 per cent of vehicle stops each year, police said they were “challenging, dynamic and complex events”.

“Drivers who choose to undertake high-risk driving behaviour when failing to stop for police increase the risk to themselves and the public, including the risk of serious injury or fatality.”

In June, the Police Association sought harsher punishments for fleeing drivers, including taking their cars off them.

I’m not sure that harsher penalties will reduce the number of people attempting to flee the police. I doubt that they pause to consider the possible consequences – or know what the penalties might be. There are obvious risks of crashing and of dying, and that doesn’t deter those who flee.

This is an issue that there is no easy answer to.