Motorcyclist killed during police chase

MOTORCYCLIST KILLED: Debris scatters the scene of the fatal crash in New Brighton, Christchurch.
MOTORCYCLIST KILLED: Debris scatters the scene of the fatal crash in New Brighton, Christchurch.

Police who chased a fleeing motorcyclist worked frantically to save his life.

Darren Lee Wilson, 26, died after he hit a car turning into the New Brighton Surf Club carpark, and was flung from his bike.

Police were pursuing the motorcyclist after he passed an unmarked police car "at speed", and ran a stop sign to evade the pursuit.

MOTORCYCLIST KILLED: Police tape blocks off the scene of the fatal crash in New Brighton, Christchurch.
MOTORCYCLIST KILLED: Police tape blocks off the scene of the fatal crash in New Brighton, Christchurch.

Ralph Alder was inside his home on Marine Pde when he heard the screech of a siren start, falter, and then start again.

Not long after the sirens started up again, he heard a loud "thump".

Alder rushed out of his house and saw the motorcyclist lying on his back, his head on the footpath and his feet on the road.

His helmet had been flung to the opposite side of the road, and one of the man's shoes was lying near the entrance to the surf club car park.

Upon seeing a police officer checking the motorcyclist's pulse and performing CPR, Alder went to the aid of the elderly couple the man had crashed into, who were having trouble getting out of their car.

"I said, we'll look after these people, and you help with CPR," Alder said.

He said the police officers spent many minutes before the ambulance arrived performing CPR on the motorcyclist, alternating in 30-second intervals

"The police were doing everything that could have been done by anyone else," he said.

St John Ambulance said they were on the scene 17.5 minutes after receiving the first call.

Alder and a group of other passersby helped the woman from the passenger seat of the car, and took her away from the scene.

They then helped the elderly man climb through the passenger's side to get him out, as his door had been crushed on impact with the motorcycle.

The woman had been "quite concerned and upset" as she could not see her husband, and was "incapable of standing at that stage".

She had calmed down when the couple were reunited and helped across the road to chairs and blankets that had been brought out of houses for them.

Alder said the elderly man had "quite a few abrasions".

The couple were checked over by ambulance and then escorted by police to the station where they were to make a statement. 

The motorcyclist had been travelling down Hawke St "at speed" when an unmarked police car passed him in the opposite direction.

Upon seeing police, the motorcyclist "further accelerated", Superintendent Andy McGregor said.

Police did a U-turn and followed the motorcyclist, who had turned down New Brighton's Marine Pde and run a stop sign to evade police.

The man was about 150-200 metres ahead of the pursuing police car when he crashed into a vehicle turning into right into the New Brighton Surf Club.

The rider was thrown "10 to 15 metres", McGregor said, and appeared to have died on impact.

Grieving family members were at the scene of the crash shortly after it happened.

An elderly couple who were driving the car the motorcyclist had crashed into had suffered minor injuries and were being spoken to by police.

The two officers who had pursued the motorcyclist in the police car were also being spoken to by police.

"They're very upset and shaken," McGregor said.

Police were currently speaking to witnesses. 

The Press understands the motorcyclist lived at a property on Keppel St, which runs parallel to Marine Pde. Police are currently at the man's house. A distressed young woman and the man's son also attended the scene.

Marine Pde resident Kathryn Baker, 67, said she had been in her garage when she heard the crash."I'm quite shocked [that he is dead], and all because he went through a stop sign... foolish."

McGregor said according to those who have been spoken to, the motorcyclist had been travelling at a "considerable speed".

Police would now be investigating the cause of the crash, and reviewing the actions of the police officers involved.

"On the face of the information before me at the moment, I'm satisfied of where we are at at the moment," McGregor said.

"The fact is this person was speeding, they were breaking the law. If the rider had actually stopped he'd be alive today."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Christchurch police on (03) 363 7400.

This is the second fatal police pursuit in the South Island this year, after a man was killed on the West Coast when the car he was travelling in slammed into a house in Greymouth.

Judd Hall, a 26-year-old from Runanga, died at the scene following the impact, which police said was so great it shifted the house off its foundations. 

The crash had followed a brief police chase where witnesses said the car was travelling around 100 kmh through a 50 kmh area at 11pm.

The Press