Shortly after 11pm on Friday, 10 April, police were called to an address in Mountain Road, Oropi, to reports that a large party had reportedly got out of control and one person had been struck by a car which had left the scene.
On route a police patrol vehicle came up behind a vehicle with no tail lights, close to the party location. The police patrol signalled to the vehicle to pull over. Instead the vehicle accelerated away and within seconds disappeared over a bank, while one of the officers was still on the radio reporting that the vehicle had failed to stop. The officers went to assist but the sole occupant, an 18-year-old Tauranga man, had been thrown from the vehicle and died on the way to hospital.
Further enquiries have established that a private birthday party with approximately 150 guests was being held. About a dozen gatecrashers arrived at the address resulting in an altercation. One partygoer was struck by a vehicle but not seriously injured.
The vehicle involved in the fatal crash was not the vehicle that had struck the partygoer. It had however been at the address and witnesses have reported it being driven erratically up and down Mountain Road prior to police arrival.
Police are working to establish the full details of what occurred at the party and have a significant number of witnesses to speak to. A serious crash investigation has also been initiated. There will be no further police comment until this work is complete.
No further information about the man who died will be released until next of kin have been informed and a formal identification has been carried out.
Media enquiries can be taken by Communications Manager Kim Perks on 027 234 8256 from 9am.