Police chase death finding released

A motorcyclist and his passenger were killed while fleeing police, hitting a car head-on, a coroner has found.

Steven Gorrie, 39, and his passenger Makoto Izumi, 38, died on April 4, 2010, after their bike crashed into an on-coming Toyota Camry on State Highway 1 at Dome Valley, north of Warkworth.

Mr Gorrie was a property manager and Mr Izumi was a dog groomer.

In findings just released, Coroner Brandt Shortland says Mr Gorrie had only owned the "powerful and fast" Suzuki K4 GSF 1200 for 10 days and was on a learner licence.

Mr Gorrie was also found to have traces of methamphetamine and the anti-anxiety drug diazepam in his system, though the coroner did not find that these played a role in the crash.

Rather, it was Mr Gorrie's decision to speed off from police that led to his death.

Mr Shortland says a constable clocked Mr Gorrie travelling at 97kmh in an area between Warkworth and Wellsford known as Frog Pool Farm.

The constable went to pursue the bike as it was an 80kmh zone.

The coroner says Mr Gorrie "must have been conscious about the police car potentially giving chase and continued at speed to avoid detection".

On an easy right-hand bend Mr Gorrie went off the road on to the gravel shoulder and travelled 110 metres before getting the bike back on the road. He then crossed the centreline into the path of the Camry driven by Amysh Goyal.

Mr Goyal and his wife were seriously injured and were lucky to live, Mr Shortland says.

Subsequent calculations suggested the motorcycle had accelerated to between 108kmh and 162kmh after passing the police car.

Rodney Times