Please attribute to Inspector Dion Bennett, Acting Northland District Commander:
Police acknowledge and accept the findings of an IPCA report into a fatal crash, which found the investigation into the circumstances was inadequate.
The incident occurred in Kerikeri in April 2018, when two people were killed and two others seriously injured in a two car collision on State Highway 10 near Puketona junction.
The crash involved a red Subaru wagon travelling south and a silver Toyota van travelling north.
The driver and the front passenger of the Subaru died at the scene and the two back-seat passengers were seriously injured.
The driver of the Toyota, an American tourist, was charged with five counts of aggravated careless driving causing injury or death, but applied for his charges to be dismissed, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
The Judge agreed, and the five charges against him were dismissed.
Police accept the IPCA’s findings that there were deficiencies in the crash investigation.
The Authority found that despite the inherent constraints of working in a rural station, the officer in charge of the investigation should have sought assistance. Police acknowledge this finding.
We understand the impact these tragic events have had on the families involved and accept responsibility for our role in this situation.
Police has since made changes to our serious crash investigations including establishing a Detective Sergeant and CIB investigator role within the Road Policing Group, developing a guide for staff undertaking interviews of persons involved in crashes, providing serious crash training and increasing the number of staff recruited into the area and improving rostering.
The Serious Crash Investigation policy for Northland was updated in July 2022 and now requires CIB involvement in any fatal crash, until a decision is made by the relevant Area Commander as to the appropriate level of the investigation.
Holly McKay/NZ Police