Chase through Kāpiti could have seen innocent deaths

A police chase of a stolen car that ended with a crash on Saturday night had innocent survivors fearing for their lives.

A car stolen in Wainuiomata by three teens was chased by police for nearly 100kms before the car ran a red light at Oxford St in Levin and crashed into the Honda CRV of Kevin Higgs, his wife Carolyn Higgs and her brother Robert Gaylard.

Mr and Mrs Higgs were in the front seats of their Honda CRV when the stolen car slammed into them.

They say police remained in pursuit and simply drove past their damaged vehicle.

Police say the pursuit likely prevented an even more serious crash from happening.

They had been hit by a Holden four by four, stolen from Wainuiomata then tracked by police as it drove north. The pursuit started on the Kāpiti Coast.

The impact was so heavy it spun the Higgs’ CRV like a toy and dragged it about 120m up the road to the intersection at Stanley St.

Kevin Higgs said he was breath tested by police at the scene.

The car’s occupants want to know why police never stopped to help, and why the chase was even allowed to reach central Levin.

Witnesses estimated the stolen vehicle was travelling over 100kmh in a 50kmh zone on Oxford St.

The three teenage occupants of the stolen car were caught when the spiked vehicle hit a police car at low speed at the northern end of Oxford St.

Carolyn Higgs said she did not necessarily think police should have abandoned the pursuit, but given the length of the chase they should have stopped the car on the open road before it reached Levin.

Inspector Paul Jermy said the fleeing car was stolen from Moores Valley Rd in Wainuiomata shortly before 6pm.

“Due to the manner of the driving observed, the age of the occupants, and their apparent lack of awareness of the risk they posed to themselves and the public, substantial consideration was given for the most appropriate police response.”

Inspector Jermy says public safety was the priority for officers, with very careful consideration given to when and where they deploy road spikes.

He says Police continued to work to stop the vehicle. A local sergeant, not involved in the pursuit, was immediately dispatched to attend the separate crash.

Inspector Jermy says Police wish to reassure the people in the other vehicle that police were fully aware that they had become victims and that police responded accordingly.

He says Police were investigating the Higgs’ collision.