Teen killed in pursuit involved in previous chase

6:15 pm on 9 October 2017

Police say the teenage driver of a stolen car who crashed and died during a police chase was also a passenger in a stolen car that drove down the wrong side of Auckland's southern motorway.

The force of the crash felled the tree at its base

The force of the crash felled the tree at its base Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

Morrocco Tai, 15, died on Ōtara's Bairds Road when his car collided with a tree, less than a minute after police began the chase.

Two 15-year-old women in the car were also injured - one seriously.

Yellow spray paint in dotted lines mark the arc of wheels skidding across the bend on Bairds Road. They pass through the centre line and opposite lane and end at the foot of a tree.

The tree, around a metre in girth, is snapped and splintered across parts of the verge and footpath, following the impact of the stolen car.

The bonnet of the blue sedan had been wrapped around the truck.

Inspector Dave Simpson said the police chase lasted just 52 seconds before Morocco crashed.

Just over two weeks ago, Morrocco had been a passenger in another stolen car that was driven at speed down the wrong side of the motorway.

"Literally hundreds of members of the public had their lives affected that day when that car was out of control. So, yeah, it's a difficult situation. What young people see as joy-riding, today's events show, there can be tragic outcomes."

Mr Simpson was asked how Morrocco was able to be back behind the wheel of a second stolen car so soon.

"That's something I'm really unable to comment on. Police did their job when we apprehended him. After that, it's not our issue."

RNZ contacted Oranga Tamariki - formerly Child Youth and Family. The ministry would not comment on whether they had had any involvement with Morocco.

He said Morrocco was charged with aggravated robbery, endangering transport and aiding a driver in a dangerous matter.

The mood on Bairds Rd was sombre this afternoon.

One night-shift worker who lives across the street had just finished his shift when the crash happened.

"I was just about to go to bed and then I heard a whole lot of sirens coming through," he said.

"I just heard this whooshing sound, like the car was skidding down the road or something and then it hit the tree."

A teacher at a nearby early childhood centre said police warned staff to keep children away.

"When we got here, the body was still inside the car and there was advice from the police to keep the children away because the scene is too dramatic for everyone to see."

Bairds Road is a major arterial road that runs through Ōtara - connecting Ōtāhuhu to Clover Park.

The stretch of road where the car crashed is a 60km/h zone but residents said drivers regularly zip through the street at up to 100km/h.

The nightshift worker said he and many of his neighbours had suffered damage to their property.

"It's a very dangerous corner and even when we're in bed we can hear cars just whizzing by, like they're doing a 100 miles an hour... Just recently as well, there's another house just as you go around the bend, a car ploughed through their fence, right up into the shed and just smashed everything."

Another resident, who has lived on the corner for 55 years, pointed out some of the damage when RNZ visited today.

He said this crash was the worst one.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority is now investigating.

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