Uni helps in road death mystery

Rutger Hale
Rutger Hale
Particulars from the mystery object that killed motorist Rutger Hale in October are being analysed by the University of Otago's geology department.

The object, which has not been located, fatally injured Mr Hale (22) on October 24 when it crashed through the windscreen of his car as he drove between Lake Hawea and Wanaka.

In November, samples lifted from interior sections of the car were sent to the physical evidence team at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research in Auckland for examination.

Inquiry head Detective Sergeant Brian Cameron said although forensic scientists had made some progress towards identifying the object, they had advised more specific expertise was required.

''They have basically said that they identified some particulates - and I can't go into details of those - but it was out of their field of experience, so they recommended we look elsewhere.''

Police then approached the university for ''more technical experience in the realms of what we're looking at being a geological background'', Det Sgt Cameron said.

The samples were provided last month to Dr Katherine Lilly, of the geology department. Det Sgt Cameron declined to comment when asked if police had an idea of what the object was.

Although police had spoken to ''a number'' of drivers of white utilities, the description of a vehicle seen at the time of the accident, none had been able to offer anything to the inquiry.

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