Teen's police pursuit death 'preventable'

A teenager's death as a result of a crash during a police pursuit was preventable, a coroner says.
A teenager's death as a result of a crash during a police pursuit was preventable, a coroner says.

A teenager's death as a result of a crash during a police pursuit was preventable and "in all likelihood" would not have occurred had officers complied with the force's policies, an inquest has found.

Logan Dreier, 18, died from the injuries sustained when he was "ejected" from the stolen vehicle he was driving, having lost control and flipped during a police pursuit on the Gold Coast in August 2019.

Police footage played during a hearing in July showed Mr Dreier travelling at speeds over 140km/h, weaving in and out of traffic along Gold Coast streets, followed by several police vehicles.

Officers lost sight of the stolen car several times throughout the chase, the hearing was told.

As the pursuit turned onto Queen Street, close to the heart of Southport's central business district, the ute overturned as Mr Dreier tried to negotiate the corner at about 9.30am.

He was thrown from the ute and, despite the frantic efforts of emergency services, died in hospital.

In inquest findings handed down on Thursday, Deputy State Coroner Jane Bentley singled out the actions of two officers in their handling of the pursuit.

"The failure of Senior Sergeant (Bradyn) Murphy to provide crucial information led to the inability of senior officers to gain an accurate understanding of what was occurring," she said.

"The failure of Sergeant (David) Martin to take control of the pursuit led to a reluctance of those senior officers to themselves take control and abandon pursuit."

A failure to take control also meant "more confusion, too many vehicles becoming involved in the pursuit and the resulting plethora of radio communications from those vehicles", Ms Bentley said.

Counsel assisting the coroner Rhiannon Helsen told the earlier hearing the incident was sparked when four people were reported breaking into a home in the Gold Coast's northern suburbs just before 9am on August 9, 2019.

Witnesses reported the four teens fled in a stolen Nissan Pulsar before police began their pursuit.

They lost control of the Pulsar and ran into bushland near Movie World, where they stole a work ute from the car park and the fatal pursuit began.

Ms Bentley recommended QPS "continue and expedite" a review of its safe driving and pursuit policy.

"This review could consider whether the threshold for what is a pursuable matter needs to be heightened from simply an indictable offence," she said.

She also recommended considering regular scenario-based refresher training and for the bonnets and roofs of police vehicles to be branded with their call signs to assist Polair with identification.

Australian Associated Press