The Chase is a four-day Herald series looking at police pursuits and fleeing drivers. Since January 2008 there have been more than 30,000 pursuits, hundreds of crashes and 79 deaths. The series runs from Monday to Thursday ahead of a joint review of pursuits by police and the IPCA which will be released on Friday.

In less than three minutes a high-speed chase in Auckland on October 23, 2017 had ended in irreparable heartbreak for two families.

A police officer had identified a "flying silver hatchback" and initiated a pursuit that required urgent decision making under pressure.

In this case, as with all pursuits, the officers relayed updates over radio; providing details of the offending car and its location as well as noting speed.


New Zealand police pursuit abandonment criteria includes risk assessment of the traffic volume, weather and road conditions, or if the distance between the pursuing and offending vehicles is too great - all of which would lead to abandonment if these risks become too high.

Unfortunately this chase claimed the lives of two of the 79 drivers and passengers that have been killed since January 2008 amid 30,950 police pursuits.

Tributes left at the site of crash on St Lukes Rd. Photo /
Tributes left at the site of crash on St Lukes Rd. Photo /

Connor Talaimanu, 29, and Sharina Storm Meuli, 25, had been passengers in the Morningside crash.

The driver of the car they were in, Prushya Chaichumphon, had fled police in excess of 160km/h and crossed all four lanes of an Auckland motorway before hitting a tree on St Lukes Rd.

In October last year, Chaichumphon - who pleaded guilty to his crimes - was sentenced to three years' in prison and disqualified from driving for four years.

Later, the Independent Police Conduct Authority released a report into the double-fatal crash saying the police officer who drove at speeds of up to 200km/h during the pursuit should have faced a criminal investigation.

In the report IPCA chairman Judge Colin Doherty ruled the speed was "clearly unjustified and constituted dangerous driving".

"Indeed, it is the Authority's view that rarely, if ever, would driving on a public road at a speed of two and a half times the posted speed limit not constitute dangerous driving."


In response police said it was too late to consider charges as the statute of limitations meant a retrospective prosecution of the officer was not an option.

The following is the radio transcript of police communications during the double fatal pursuit.