The man charged in relation to a crash that killed an off-duty police officer has appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to serious driving charges.

Russell John Tunnicliffe, 61, appeared in the Papakura District Court yesterday.

He is facing charges of careless driving causing the death of Constable Naomi McRae on February 13 this year.

McRae, 35, was on her way to start her shift as a police officer in the Counties Manukau District when she was involved in a collision.


She was airlifted to Auckland City Hospital in a critical condition and placed on life support, but later died with family at her side.

Tunnicliffe was later charged in relation to her death.

He has also pleaded not guilty to two other charges - careless driving causing injury and making a false statement in a logbook and exceeding the maximum period for continuous work while subject to work time restrictions.

McRae had worked in Counties Manukau since graduating from Police College in 2014 and was part of the family harm team.

After the crash, Counties Manukau District Commander Superintendent Jill Rogers said McRae was well-loved and respected by her colleagues across the district.

"Naomi's tragic passing has deeply affected a number of staff and friends in the police whānau."

Tunnicliffe will next appear in court in September.

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