A CORONER has cleared two police officers of wrongdoing following the death of a Lavington man in a fiery car crash.
Deputy state coroner Derek Lee yesterday delivered his findings into the death after an inquest largely focused on the actions of two following officers in the moments before the crash.
Mr Crighton had been drinking at the Boomerang Hotel for his brother's 21st birthday party hours before the collision.
Wodonga officers tried to intercept the stolen utility about 1.09am but pulled over when Mr Crighton went to the wrong side of Morrison Street.
Albury officers began following the utility on East Street, near Schubach Street, for a short time, and the vehicle crashed about 1.25am.
The inquest heard Mr Crighton had been on the phone at the time and had never held a licence.
Mr Crighton's family had argued that police were pursuing the vehicle, but Mr Lee found there was no evidence of a pursuit.
"Neither Acting Sergeant [Johan] Medina nor Senior Constable [Luke] Porritt issued Shaun with a direction to stop the vehicle that he was driving at the time," he said.
"As no direction had been given (and, consequentially, Shaun had not ignored it), this means that the definition of a pursuit in the policy was not met."
Mr Lee also found the two officers took reasonable care in following the stolen utility, even though the police car travelled at high speed.
The deputy state coroner found no evidence that the speed posed a direct risk to any pedestrians or other motorists.
It was impossible to know whether Mr Crighton would have slowed down if the police car decelerated, and it was unclear if he was speeding due to the speed of the police vehicle, he found.
Mr Lee considered police policies and found the officers shouldn't have discontinued the traffic stop and didn't need to activate lights before the crash.
He extended his condolences to Mr Crighton's family.
"Shaun's passing is all the more tragic because at the time of his death he was at a point where he planned to make some major life changes," Mr Lee said.
"He was preparing to move out of the family home and find a place of his own, as well as seek more permanent employment. It is most heartbreaking to know that Shaun was on the cusp of much potential that will, sadly, never be realised."
Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here