A motorcyclist who died after fleeing from police in Christchurch was a young father of three.
Darren Lee Wilson, 26, died yesterday morning when he hit a car turning into the New Brighton Surf Club car park, and was flung from his bike.
Wilson was the father of three children, aged 10 and under.
Tina Wilson wrote on Facebook yesterday that she was "heartbroken" by her brother's death.
"Still so hard to believe, can't get my head around this at all... feels like a terrible nightmare," she wrote.
Wilson's friend Craig wrote of losing "a brother, a mate".
"R.I.P my bro. You WILL be missed more than the bike," he said.
WITNESS HEARD LOUD THUMP
Ralph Alder was inside his home on Marine Parade yesterday morning 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 Wilson 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 Wilson's shoes was lying near the entrance to the surf club car park.
Upon seeing a police officer checking Wilson'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 performing CPR on Wilson, alternating in 30-second intervals, before the ambulance arrived.
"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 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.
MOTORCYCLIST WAS FLEEING POLICE
Wilson had been travelling down Hawke St "at speed" when an unmarked police car passed him in the opposite direction.
Upon seeing police, he "further accelerated", Superintendent Andy McGregor said.
Police did a U-turn and followed Wilson, who had turned down New Brighton's Marine Parade and run a stop sign to evade police.
Wilson 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.
He 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.
McGregor said 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 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.
SOUTH ISLAND'S SECOND FATAL POLICE CHASE
Yesterday's incident was 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 100kmh through a 50kmh area at 11pm.
- The Press