'Senseless tragedy' warning to drivers

Police last night spoke out about motorists trying to evade pursuing officers following a "senseless tragedy" which cost a young man his life.

A 28-year-old man died, and two other men were hospitalised - including one with life-threatening injuries - following a crash in South Auckland on Friday night.

Police said the dead man was a passenger in a car that was "highlighted" to them during an "automatic number plate recognition" operation in Puhinui Rd, Manukau.

Police say they signalled for the car to pull over, but it sped away towards Otara and was found shortly afterwards in nearby Boundary Rd, where it had crashed into another car.

Two men - the driver and sole passenger - were trapped in the vehicle which police said had earlier refused to stop, adding that it had flipped after the collision with a passing car.

A police statement issued yesterday described the incident as a "senseless tragedy".

Superintendent John Timms, of Counties Manukau Police, added it could have been prevented had the driver of the car stopped when signalled to do so.

"What we have now is one family coming to grips with the loss of a loved one and another sitting bedside in the hope their loved one will recover from critical injuries," Timms said.

Two separate investigations and a review have now been launched.

"As matter of course, the matter has been referred to the IPCA [Independent Police Conduct Authority]," Timms said.

"A criminal investigation which will be overseen by an independent police investigator has been commenced."

The wreckage was taken away overnight Friday.

Yesterday all that remained at the site were paint marks indicating the locations of both vehicles involved and ruts in a grass verge showing the resting place of one of the vehicles.

Sunday Star Times