Patch theft results in rival gang car chase in BOP

Three members of the public inside this car were seriously hurt when two cars containing rival gang members ploughed through a red light and smashed into them.

A carload of Mongrel Mob gang members was hot on Wharekite Te Runa’s tail because he and his Black Power mates had just stolen their gang patch.

For 4km, the two gang vehicles drove dangerously and at high speed on a busy Rotorua highway, weaving in and out of traffic and at times driving on the wrong side of the road.

Within minutes, the chase ended in a cascade of crashes that left six people injured – three of them innocent members of the public – as well as four cars smashed and a broken pole.

Te Runa, 26, had ignored the traffic lights at the intersection of Te Ngae Road and Tarawera Rd and ploughed into two cars that had right of way.

His Mongrel Mob co-offender - the man he was fleeing - was Daryll Lay. The Rotorua Daily Post reported last month that he is now serving a 19-month jail term for his offending on that day – last June 3. The judge at his sentencing described it as “wanton lawlessness” that “put multiple members of the Rotorua public at serious risk”.

Now, details of Te Runa’s involvement in the offending have been released to the Rotorua Daily Post.

Te Runa has pleaded guilty to three counts of reckless driving causing injury, reckless driving and refusing a request for a blood sample. He is due to be sentenced in the Rotorua District Court on May 28.

A police summary of facts said Te Runa was a patched Black Power member. He and three associates had stolen a Mongrel Mob patch from Lay, leading to the chase.

Daryll Lay appears in the Rotorua District Court for sentencing in March. Photo / Rotorua Daily Post.

It was the Saturday of King’s Birthday weekend and about 6pm. Given it was a public holiday, traffic was heavier than normal, the summary said.

Three of the people injured were passengers in Te Runa’s car and the other three were members of the public who didn’t know Te Runa or Lay.

Te Runa and his associates were in a Holden vehicle and Lay and five of his associates were in a Ford ute.

Several members of the public called police about the two vehicles speeding on Te Ngae Rd and overtaking dangerously.

The summary said police obtained CCTV footage that showed both vehicles travelling at high speed, on the wrong side of the road, overtaking, undertaking, and running red lights.

Daryll Lay and five other Mongrel Mob members were in this ute chasing a car containing Black Power members when it crashed into a car at the Te Ngae Rd and Tarawera Rd intersection. Photo / Supplied.

At times both vehicles drove through road cones and on the opposite side of the road, weaving among oncoming traffic, and sped through intersections.

Throughout the 4km of driving, some other drivers had to take evasive action to avoid being hit.

At the Tarawera Rd intersection, Te Runa ran a red light and collided with a Mitsubishi vehicle with three people inside, causing it to spin through the intersection.

Te Runa also collided with a Toyota, pushing it to the side of the road, then hit a light pole – breaking it and dislodging it from the ground.

Lay’s vehicle came through shortly afterwards and also collided with the vehicles.

The Black Power members got out of their car and ran up Tarawera Rd and the Mongrel Mob members chased them on foot, the summary said.

They all failed to check on the other victims of the crash.

Emergency services attended and the Black Power members were taken to hospital. Te Runa refused to give a blood sample.

Te Runa was charged with reckless driving causing injury to the three members of the public. Their injuries included a sprained neck, back and ribs, bruising, sprained ankle and open wounds.

Police are seeking reparation to pay for the damaged vehicles.

-NZ Herald.

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