30 May 2018

Kids fleeing police like they’ve got nothing left to lose

From Checkpoint, 5:19 pm on 30 May 2018

Families of teenagers killed while fleeing police say it's all too easy for young people to be led astray - and some feel they've got nothing left to lose.

Meadow James, 12, and a 15-year-old male driver both died when the stolen car they were in crashed on Monday while fleeing police in Palmerston North.

Just over a week earlier, Bailey Patmore, 15, was killed when the stolen vehicle he was in the boot of crashed just south of the Tawa interchange on State Highway 1 while being pursued by police.

His mother, Kelly, told Checkpoint today her son had learning difficulties and health problems.

"He came from a loving home, you know. He's got a huge family and he was loved more than anything - and he always will be," she said.

"It was just unfortunate that he got in with the wrong crowd. He was easily led astray."

Six months ago, he had parted ways with that group.

"It was just unfortunate that that afternoon, for some reason, he left the house and never came back."

Morrocco Tai, 15, died in similar circumstances last October.

His stepsister Breezy said he "just got mixed up with the wrong crowd".

"I think maybe he would have been persuaded by his mates to be out there and be noticed.

"His friends don't care if they go to, like, juvie or whatever. Those are the people who don't care. They've got nothing to lose."

Breezy had gotten herself out of a similar crowd when she was younger - she decided against getting into a stolen car with friends.

"One of the girls crashed and she was left in critical [condition]. There were three of them in the car. I was meant to be the fourth but I didn't get in."

Checkpoint also spoke to Josh, who got into a life of crime when he was only 12. Now 17, he is a father.

"Stealing cars, doing everything. Robbing shops, you name I've done it. Crashing cars through walls," he said.

"I was just troubled, eh."

The people he was involved with did not consider the consequences.

"You're pretty much not in that mind-state. You're not thinking about dying; you're just thinking about cracking it and coming home."