Chase: Police defend officers involved

By Abby Gillies, Natalie Akoorie

Photo / File / Glenn Taylor
Photo / File / Glenn Taylor

The two men under guard in hospital after a high-speed chase around Hamilton overnight were wanted for questioning in connection with aggravated robberies in Auckland last month.

John Koteka, 34, and Alex Tereora, 31 were arrested after the car they were in crashed into trees.

Police had been searching for the pair in connection to three robberies in the Domain and on Mt Eden on February 17.

The men featured on television show Police Ten 7 last night. Officers were alerted after a member of the public reported a Holden travelling at high-speed near Cambridge about 10pm.

Police attempted to get the driver of the VX Commodore Clubsport to stop but he raced off towards Hamilton before crashing after driving over spikes laid by officers near Airport Rd.

The two injured men fled the scene.

Tereora was found soon after. Police allege he assaulted an officer and ran off before being found choking a police dog to the point of unconsciousness.

A police helicopter spotted Koteka.

POLICE DEFEND OFFICERS

Waikato police have defended officers involved in the incident.

Hamilton city area commander Greg Nicholls said the pursuit was called off just as the crash happened.

He also defended the decision by the dog handler to fire a warning shot.

"When the officer came around the corner after being assaulted by this man who had failed to comply with the call to lie down and succumb to arrest, he sees this man choking his dog. In order to save his dog, to apprehend the man, the tactical options open to him at that stage were very limited."

Both men are awaiting surgery in Waikato Hospital for injuries sustained in the crash.

Mr Nicholls said the strangled dog, Louie, was being assessed by a local vet. Louie is 7 and half years old and due for retirement having "done a fair bit of work for police".

"He is a very well thought of dog amongst our staff and to see something like this happen to Loui is pretty sad for all our staff."

- APNZ

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