A coroner has cleared police of any blame for the death of a Tauranga teenager, killed in a pursuit while intoxicated and driving a dangerous car.
Coroner Michael Robb today released his 38-page findings into the death of Levi Penberthy-Green who died in Oropi on April 11, 2015.
The findings settle the question of whether a police patrol car shunted the deceased's Nissan Cefiro moments before the car left the road and plunged down a hill and into a steep bank on Mountain Rd.
The findings follow a week-long hearing earlier this year which included evidence from a witness who believed there had been contact.
Penberthy-Green, 18, was driving his Cefiro back to a woolshed party in the early morning when the police car called to the party came up behind him.
Coroner Robb said Penberthy-Green was an unlicensed driver and had a previous driving conviction.
"Levi was under the influence of alcohol and cannabis as he drove that night. Minutes before the police approached him, he had been in discussion with one of his friends about the likelihood of police having been called to the party.
"I have no doubt that when the police turned up behind him and turned on their flashing lights, that this startled him.
"He accelerated away from police because he wanted to avoid being caught driving by police in that state of intoxication, as an unlicensed driver knowing he was driving an unwarranted and unregistered vehicle that night," the Coroner said.
An analysis of his blood alcohol level showed Penberthy-Green had a blood alcohol level of 130mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Because of his age, he was not permitted to drive after consuming alcohol but was nearly three times over the adult legal blood alcohol level.
A blood test for the active ingredient in cannabis indicated the deceased had consumed an entire cannabis cigarette within two hours of his death.
"Driving in that state in a vehicle in the condition that Levi's vehicle was in akin to Russian roulette. Dangerous not only to the driver and occupants but also to any other road user who they encountered while driving on a public road in that state.
"Levi was a young man with spirit and enthusiasm, he enjoyed life, he enjoyed his family and friends, he was loving and well loved. His death was tragically avoidable," Coroner Robb said.
Coroner Robb extended his condolences to Penberthy-Green's family and friends for their loss.