WA Police officer charged over pursuit death

A 27-year-old police officer has been charged and stood aside from duties after killing a woman when he ran a red light during a chase. The officer has been summonsed to appear in court on May 22 on the charge of dangerous driving.

The police officer was  with his partner chasing a stolen Audi, when he ran the red light, hitting the victims car.  The police officer had not received authorisation to pursue the stolen vehicle when he ran the red light.

The 50-year-old victim was driving with her 16-year-old daughter when they were hit.  The daughter was taken to hospital with minor injuries, as were the two officers.  A 21-year-old man was later arrested in relation to the stolen car.

Western Australian police minister Rob Johnson and Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan defended police pursuits after the crash.

Mr O’Callaghan said that an internal investigation had begun to determine if the police had correctly followed procedures.  Mr O’Callaghan made statements to the media, which may potentially bias an ongoing internal investigation, by presenting an uninformed excuse for the actions of police, “my guess is what they were trying to do was get that authorisation, but you can’t wait for someone to take off and then wait for three or four minutes for that authorisation”.

WA Police have stated that the 37 crashes over the past two years involving police vehicles engaged in emergency driving situations, was not high.  Mr O’Callaghan said that pursuits “are very well regulated”.

Source: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/man-arrested-over-stolen-audi-death-chase/story-e6frg13u-1226332817969, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-04-13/wa-opposition-calls-for-police-pursuit-review/3947744?section=wa, http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/wa-officer-charged-in-fatal-police-pursuit/story-e6frfku0-1226334567898