Detective inspector Areumu Ingaua, who is leading the crash investigation, confirmed authorities are aware of allegations that police actions may have led to the young man’s death. He was not prepared to comment on the matter, but did say police have interviewed a number of witnesses and they are appealing for more information from anyone who believes they may have witnessed any part of the police pursuit or crash.
Police initially spotted the young man on a motor bike driving carelessly at high speed in Avarua and began their pursuit which ended in the fatal crash at the O’oa Bridge in Upper Tupapa.
Piniata was transferred to hospital where he passed away a few hours later.
Ingaua says the chase and the crash occurred between 10.30pm and 12am on Friday evening.
Police have also taken an interest in a car or pick up truck which was spotted at the crash scene not long after.
“We are asking them or anyone else with information to get in touch with the police. It will help our investigation if any other person that might have seen the police pursuing someone within those hours comes forward,” said Ingaua yesterday.
“We would appreciate that help from them,” he added.