Seven Suspects Learn You Can’t Outrun Eagle

The Eagle helicopter spent two nights last week in the Waikato district to support the search operation for the three missing children, Jayda, Maverick, and Ember Phillips, in Marokopa.

While in the district, it assisted local Police to take fleeing drivers by surprise.

In the early hours of Thursday 13 June, Eagle helped Waikato Police deal with a series of poor decision-making by motorists, some who appeared to have a death wish.

The first callout came about 1.20am, after Police sighted a vehicle travelling at speed and through a red light on Anzac Parade. Police signalled the vehicle to stop, however it fled.

After being spiked on Ulster Street, the car continued at speed before being abandoned on Scott Avenue. The two alleged occupants, both youths, fled on foot but were swiftly apprehended by Police, guided to their location by Eagle.

Both are scheduled to appear in the Hamilton Youth Court on related charges.

A motorcyclist’s poor decisions brought him to the attention of Police next. About 2am, the bike drove along Heaphy Terrace at speed, passing an officer who was dealing with an alleged drink-driver. The officer called for Eagle’s eyes, and its crew were soon watching the motorcycle as it allegedly drove at double the speed limit in a 50kmh area.

Officers located the alleged rider soon after. A 23-year-old Hamilton East local has been charged with driving with excess breath alcohol and will appear in court at a later date.

Bad decisions were the theme of the night, and at 3.10am, Police signalled to another speeding driver to stop on Tuhikaramea Road. The alleged driver fled, but it wasn’t fast enough to evade Eagle, which guided Police to Livingston Road where two people were taken into custody and a vehicle impounded.

The most dangerous display of driving was yet to come.

About 3.25am, Eagle’s crew spotted a vehicle travelling at high speed on Poaka Avenue.

Ground units were notified of the vehicle’s location and signalled for it to stop.

Shockingly, the vehicle failed to stop and fled at speed, travelling almost triple the 50kmh limit with no headlights on.

A pursuit was abandoned almost immediately, but Eagle tracked the vehicle for 25 minutes before it was abandoned on Wairere Drive. Eagle’s crew then helped Police locate the suspected driver, who had been picked up and taken to a Te Rapa Road address.

A 40-year-old man appeared in Hamilton District Court on 13 June, charged with recklessly operating a motor vehicle, driving while disqualified, and failing to stop.

He was remanded in custody to reappear on 27 June in Hamilton District Court.

Hamilton City Area Commander Andrea McBeth says “We understand that several residents may have got a surprise to hear Eagle in their neighbourhood overnight. We are fortunate to receive air support to assist us in safely apprehending individuals who cause harm in our community.”

“When offenders make decisions to drive drunk and dangerously on our roads, they put all of us and our loved ones at risk. We work hard to hold offenders to account for this behaviour before they cause harm.”

/NZ Police Public Release. View in full here.