The Courier Mail Brooke Baskin February 27, 2015
A YOUNG man’s violent death in the twisted wreckage of a car being driven by a mate who left him to die will help to refine police pursuit policy in Queensland.
Paul Low was 19 when his friend Peter Ollenburg, 26, got behind the wheel of his mate’s high-powered Holden Calais sometime after 11pm on September 24, 2012.
Hours later and after fleeing a police patrol car at high speed, Ollenburg crashed the car into trees off Dohles Rocks Rd at Murrumba Downs, north of Brisbane.
Mr Low died of devastating head injuries as Ollenburg fled.
The law caught up with Ollenburg a year later when he was sentenced to eight years’ jail over the crash.
State coroner Terry Ryan yesterday handed down his findings, following an inquest into the police pursuit leading up to the crash.
He said two police officers continued to undergo disciplinary proceedings in relation to Mr Low’s death: for failing to use lights and sirens when attempting to pull the Calais over; for speeding; and for failing to stay in contact with police communications before the crash.
Mr Ryan said it was unnecessary for him to recommend the two constables be referred for further disciplinary action.
He instead turned his attention to refining the definition of a police pursuit.
Mr Ryan praised a recent policy revision that widened the definition of an attempted intercept or pursuit to clarify whether a direction to stop had been given in order for an action to be considered a police pursuit.
“The officers both acknowledged that they were attempting to intercept and, in my view, continued to do so after forming the belief that the Calais was not going to stop. However, a pursuit, as defined, did not occur,” he said.
“This is plainly an absurd outcome and points to an inadequacy in the drafting of the definition of ‘pursuit’ in the operational procedures manual.”
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