Police chase report heartens family

By Anna Wallis

Photo/File
Photo/File

The family of Calum Meyer who died in a police chase are hopeful recommendations by the Independent Police Conduct Authority will be taken up.

Mr Meyer died about 9.30am on May 7 after his car collided with a parked truck while fleeing police in Whanganui.

The 25-year-old unlicensed driver, who had been forbidden to drive, hit a cyclist and the pursuit was abandoned. However, on two further occasions it was recommenced and abandoned again, before Mr Meyer's car collided with the truck in Tayforth Rd shortly after road spikes had been used for a second time.

The IPCA found police generally complied with policy, but the second and third stage of the pursuit should not have happened and posed too much of a risk to officers and members of the public.

It recommended police amend policy to prohibit recommencing chases unless the new pursuit would significantly reduce the risk posed by the fleeing driver or would likely stop the driver.

Mr Meyer's mother Leonie Meyer, a Whanganui nurse, said she was "a bit surprised" at the recommendations made by the IPCA.

"I thought they would automatically support the police.

"I thought it would just come out on the police side, that it would be one-sided and say the police were in the right completely."

She knew what her son had done was wrong.

"It was all his fault. But, when the police are chasing someone, they have to make it safe for everyone."

She said she wished the police had waited and arrested him later.

"I know the police were doing their job, but for some of the time out on the road he was driving normally - it wasn't all at speed. And he was coming back into town."

She was pretty sure police would know who it was driving the car.

"He had been in a lot of trouble and they knew him quite well. I'm not 100 per cent sure and maybe they wouldn't admit it, but they could have found him later."

Mrs Meyer said her son usually had a friend to drive him because, legally, he couldn't.

"I don't know what happened that day, why he took off in the car."

She said he had a lot of difficulties getting his driving licence and that was part of the problem.

"He really was trying this time, but it's now so difficult ... it's got so complicated."

Calum was the youngest of Leonie's four sons, and she said he was a happy, friendly boy who always had to be "out doing something".

"He couldn't sit around - a bit ADHD maybe. Most people got on well with him ... he didn't have a nasty streak."

He loved mucking around with cars but hadn't been able to settle into anything.

Mrs Meyer said someone from the IPCA had talked them through the report prior to it being made public. "It will be interesting to see what comes of it. It's just a recommendation at this stage."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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