The Western Bay of Plenty Police Area Commander, Inspector Mike Clement, has confirmed that the off-duty Police officer seriously injured in a car crash near Te Puke this morning is Senior Sergeant Deirdre Lack, the Officer in Charge of Te Puke Police Station.
Inspector Clement says Senior Sergeant Lack is still in surgery in Tauranga Hospital as a result of serious injuries sustained in the crash.
He says the 19 year old male driver of the other car involved in the crash is also in Tauranga Hospital with serious injuries.
Inspector Clement says Police have been working hard to try and ensure the families of both those injured were informed appropriately. He says members of both families are being supported by Police staff and other emergency and support services.
"This was a serious crash and its effects will be felt by communities across the Bay of Plenty, but particularly by those in the Te Puke community and within our Police family. Our thoughts and support are with both families at this time."
Inspector Clement says that on behalf of Senior Sergeant Lack's family – and Western Bay of Plenty Police – he would like to thank the local community for the kind messages and offers of support that have been flooding into Police Stations across the area.
He says messages have also been received from Police National Headquarters in Wellington.
"Deidre is a popular and well-regarded member of the local Te Puke community – as well as within Police. Those messages are providing some comfort to her family and will be passed on to her in due course."
Inspector Clement says the investigation into the crash is being managed by a senior Police officer from outside the Western Bay of Plenty area. No further details about the crash will be available until that investigation has been completed.