Motorcyclist killed in police collision named

FATAL: the scene where a motorcyclist died after hitting a turning police car on Waerenga Rd, near Te Kauwhata yesterday.
BRUCE MCCULLOCH
FATAL: the scene where a motorcyclist died after hitting a turning police car on Waerenga Rd, near Te Kauwhata yesterday.

The 38-year-old Te Kauwhata man killed after his motorcycle collided with a police car as it turned to chase a speeding motorist has been named.

Paul Brown died after after a Waikato Highway Patrol officer turned in front of his motorcycle on the brow of a hill near the township yesterday.

Brown was a former supermotard racer and 600 sports production racer.

A police officer inspects damage to a patrol car hit by a motorcyclist after the officer appparently turned in front of him.
Supplied
A police officer inspects damage to a patrol car hit by a motorcyclist after the officer appparently turned in front of him.

The officer involved is now at the centre of multiple investigations.

Waikato road policing manager Inspector Leo Tooman said the officer was heading east on Waerenga Rd, near Te Kauwhata, about 4.15pm when he clocked a vehicle heading toward him travelling at 154kmh.

"Pulling to the left the officer has activated his blue and red emergency lights and sirens and begun a turning manoeuvre to follow the offending vehicle as a motorcycle came over the brow of a hill and collided with the turning patrol car."

The officer performed either a U-turn or three-point turn. The motorcyclist struck the left-rear quarter of the police car, resulting in him being thrown several metres.

Mr Tooman said out-of-district senior officers would now supervise both the Serious Crash Unit and CIB investigations into the crash. The matter had also been referred to the Independent Police Conduct Authority and the coroner.

The vehicle the officer turned to chase had not been found.

It is understood Mr Brown was an experienced rider who had competed in a number of motorcycle events.

The officer involved was not at work today and it was still unknown this morning whether he would be stood down or return to work.

The incident is similar to that of a Blenheim-based Highway Patrol sergeant who was found guilty of dangerous driving after performing a U-turn in front of two motorcyclists in December, 2007.

Marty Collins and Brent Russell spent months off work due to the injuries suffered after the crash which saw them thrown from their motorcycles.

Meanwhile, the Te Kauwhata man was one of five killed on the country's roads at the weekend.

Blaze Kawau, 21, of Tauranga, died after his car hit a street sign after colliding with another vehicle on Saturday night.

Nicolas Agius, 28, died after smashing his car into a power pole in Auckland on Saturday morning.

An 80-year-old man died on Saturday following a head-on crash near Lake Taupo.

A Pukekohe man, believed to be in his late 40s, died following a head-on crash near the town on Saturday night.

POLICE COLLISIONS

Last year, a Nelson police officer was given diversion after he made a u-turn in front of a following car on State Highway 6 at Atawhai and the cars collided. No-one was injured in the crash.

In 2008, a police highway patrol car was hit by a following vehicle as it made a u-turn to chase a speeding motorcyclist near Midhirst in Taranaki. The following vehicle had pulled out and was passing the patrol car when the officer turned. No one was injured in the crash.

In December 2007, two motorcyclists were hurt after a police car did a U-turn in front of them in the Upper Buller Gorge near Nelson. The officer was turning to chase a speeding motorcyclist heading in the other direction.

Later that month, a motorcyclist was seriously injured when a police car, responding to an emergency call, made a u-turn on State Highway 2 near Maramarua in Waikato.

Waikato Times