Thursday, January 3, 2013

Police account of fatal crash pursuit questioned

A witness to a Northern Territory Police road chase has rejected  claims that officers aborted their pursuit before the car they were following crashed, killing three people.

The crash happened three days before Christmas, on a stretch of road between Alice Springs and the remote community of Hermannsburg in Central Australia.

Two women and one man died in the tragedy.  Two other people were injured.

Police say they were chasing the car but ended their pursuit when speeds got too high.

Hermannsburg traditional owner Baydon Williams says he was near the side of the road with several others when the chase began.  "We seen the chase and the police car wasn't far off the other car," he said.

He says he heard the crash and believes police arrived at the scene seconds after it happened.

His niece and her husband were among those killed.

"Everyone thought that the rule ... was that the police should just leave people drive past when they're speeding," he said.  "That (is) what I heard the rule was supposed (to be) when ... the car is going fast, the policemen have got to let them go.

"But that never happened.  "They just kept on chasing."

Police Commissioner John McRoberts will fly from Darwin to Alice Springs tomorrow to follow investigations into the incident.

Police say they are unable to comment while investigations are taking place on behalf of the coroner.

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