5 Jul 2013

Death of New Plymouth man accidental - coroner

7:52 pm on 5 July 2013

A coroner has ruled the death of a New Plymouth man following a police pursuit was accidental, despite his suicidal tendencies.

Robert Seifert died in 2011 after hitting a power pole near Manaia in South Taranaki after reaching speeds of 130km/h.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority cleared the police of any wrongdoing last year.

An inquest in New Plymouth on Friday was told Mr Seifert deliberately swiped a parked police car in Opunake, and after being pursued by officers slowed down so they could catch up.

Not long afterwards he hit a power pole and died from head injuries.

Mr Seifert had stopped taking medication for depression and had argued with his girlfriend on the day of the crash.

Coroner Carla Na Nagara says it was possible Mr Seifert intended to end his life that night but there was not enough evidence to find he deliberately hit the power pole.