Two dead in Palmerston North and one in hospital. Another heartbreaking statistic after a police chase. The seventh and eighth deaths this year after pursuits.

Once again there's a call for police chases to either stop or be further regulated and reduced.

But these deaths weren't the responsibility of the police - but the driver who chose not to obey the law.

Brother of 12yo killed after Palmerston North police chase also died being pursued by cops


In this case, it was a 15-year-old.

A 15-year-old driving a stolen car.

A 15-year-old on bail for serious driving offences.

A kid who was speeding around at 1.30 in the afternoon on a Monday. A kid who should have been at school.

A kid that has been left to run feral. Where are the parents - and what have they taught him?

If there was a cause to this crash it probably lies 15 years ago when this person was born into a life of no future.

The other victim. A girl. Aged 12. Another who should have been in school.

Why was a 12-year-old gallivanting about town with a 15-year-old on bail in a stolen car.
Again - where were the parents?


Today it turns out her brother died five years ago in a similar police chase in New South Wales. It seem to run in the family.

Now some in the office warned me that saying these sorts of things now was too soon. That the family would be grieving.

I'm sorry for your loss and I understand your despair - but to wait a week to say this means the lesson is far away from all our minds.

If there's anything to come from this then maybe it can prevent other families going through your pain.

Kids are kids. They should not be stealing or driving and they should be in school. It's free.

But it is prudent to continually monitor police chases. It's also appropriate to acknowledge that our death rate in police chases is 26 times that of Queensland, which doesn't pursue vehicles.

So the risk involved means that the chase should only be when completely necessary.

Was this chase necessary? Well, an investigation will reveal that.

But in my opinion, it was not. The boy was known to police. His whereabouts were known.

He was not an unknown criminal fleeing the scene of a bank robbery or assault. It was a teen driving illegally. He was clocked. He was identified. And then he was dead.

As one police officer said yesterday, they'd rather pull an offender out of their bed at dawn than out of the wreck of a crashed and burning car.

But that's easy to say with 20/20 hindsight.

* Andrew Dickens is the host of afternoon talk on Newstalk ZB, every weekday from midday to 4pm.