An amateur cage fighter who died when his car burst into flames after a police pursuit was speeding 115km/h, a court has heard.
John Beirouti died when he crashed into a tree and the black SUV burst into flames on Stud Road at Dandenong North on January 24 this year.
The 43-year-old’s death is being probed by Coroner Simon McGregor and a directions hearing was held on Friday.
Mr Beirouti was a talented sportsman who also competed in MMA and won bouts in the Australian Fighting Championship.
The conduct of the officers during the attempted intercept of the Beirouti’s car including the use of tyre spikes and its contribution to the crash are issues to be considered, counsel assisting Lindsay Spencer said.
Mr Beirouti was spotted in a black Nissan SUV at the intersection of Ferntree Gully Road and Stud Road when he performed an illegal left turn next to police officers about 3.30am, the court was told.
They checked Mr Beirouti’s car registration and found the car had “outstanding whereabouts file” in relation to family violence offences, Mr Spencer said.
The officers turned on their lights and sirens but Mr Beirouti failed to stop and they were told over radio not to pursue him.
Another police unit from Rowville spotted the Nissan running a red light on Stud Road and Wellington Road and followed without turning on their lights.
“(It is estimated) they accelerated to approximately 115km/h and that the offending vehicle was approximately 400 to 500 metres ahead of them and (they) were not gaining on the vehicle,” Mr Spencer said.
The speed limit along the road is 80km, the court was told.
A third unit further along Stud Road was listening to police radio and told the others they could use road spikes at the intersection of Brady Road.
The unit set up the spikes in the path of the Nissan but the car didn’t stop after hitting them, the court was told.
The three police cars followed the car at a distance until they saw a fire on the median strip in the middle of the road after the Monash Freeway.
“Members have stopped and observed the vehicle extensively damaged and wrapped around a large tree, with fire beginning to engulf the car and John still within,” Mr Spencer said.
Several officers pulled Mr Beirouti out of the car and performed CPR, with a passing ambulance stopping and helping at the scene.
However he died at the scene.
Evidence is expected to include statements from the six officers involved, radio communications, CCTV footage, expert statements and downloads from the court.
“CCTV has been obtained and is still being analysed however it shows police units arriving at the accident scene some 15 seconds after the collision,” Mr Spencer said.
Mr Spencer said it was not clear if the Nissan’s airbag control module from the Nissan would provide critical pre-crash data or whether it was destroyed in the blaze.
A full coronial brief is expected to be ready in June this year.
The coroner reserved his decision on whether to hold an inquest until he received the completed brief of evidence.