A man accused of killing a cyclist while fleeing police was driving through residential streets in Massey at up to 90km/h, at times on the wrong side of the road, the officer who was pursuing him has told a judge at the Auckland District Court.
Jamie Jameson, 39, died several days after the November 2019 crash, leaving behind a wife and son.
The 27-year-old defendant, who has been granted name suppression, started his judge-alone trial by pleading not guilty to charges of failing to stop for police, failing to stop or ascertain injury after the cyclist was hit, receiving stolen property over $1000 and recklessly causing death.
Constable Nickolas Fredericks told Judge Anna Skellern he had arrived at the West Auckland neighbourhood that evening hoping to locate the defendant, whom he had sought on an unrelated matter. He was discussing with another officer how best to approach an address the defendant was believed to be at when he saw the man get in a car without a front licence plate and "accelerate quite heavily", he testified.
He activated his lights and siren, but to no avail, Fredericks said. A short time later, he said, the car again crossed over to the wrong side of the street as it turned onto Don Buck Rd.
"As he's going through the intersection, I [observed] glass shards coming off the windscreen of the vehicle and heard a distinctive loud thud," the officer said, explaining that he stopped to give the unconscious cyclist first aid. "The vehicle didn't even attempt to stop. It just kept driving up Don Buck Rd at speed."
Jameson's family filled one side of the courtroom. Several left in tears as the officer recounted the incident.
Two other motorists testified about seeing a driver with a broken windscreen shortly after the crash.
"It was going quite a bit faster than me — quite dangerously," one woman said, estimating the car's speed to be about 80km/h on a winding road with a blind corner. "It was really unsafe the way the car was being driven."
Another woman said she was driving with her 9-year-old granddaughter when she saw someone driving down the road at speed, his black scarf flapping in the wind as he stuck his head out the window to see due to a smashed windscreen.
"It was like, 'My God, what's happening here?'" she said. "He couldn't see where he was going so he was poking his head out."
She later saw him again walking down the road, she said, explaining that she decided to follow him at a distance and call police.
"He was on his own walking down real cocky," she said, describing him as wearing mirrored sunglasses and the same black scarf.
During his opening address, Crown prosecutor Sam McMullan said the only issue in dispute is whether the defendant was the person driving the car that day.
The defendant's fingerprints were found on the car, shards of glass embedded in a shirt police found in his backpack at the time of his arrest match glass from the car's windscreen and his DNA was also found on items inside the car, McMullan said. When all of that is taken into account, along with witness statements, "there is no reasonable explanation other than [the defendant] was the driver of the vehicle when it collided with Mr Jameson", he said.
The defendant, who has opted to represent himself, has so far remained mostly silent — declining to cross-examine the first three witnesses who testified. Lawyer Todd Simmonds is aiding him as stand-by counsel.
The trial is set to continue through the week.