Police rule out bullet in death by mystery object

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Police are ruling out a firearm or bullet causing the bizarre death of a motorist near Wanaka last week.
 
Victim Rutger Hale, originally from the West Coast, was killed last Thursday when a mystery object smashed through the windscreen of his Subaru Legacy as he drove along the Lake Hawea-Albert Town Road about 6.25am. 

It left a fist-sized hole in the windscreen according to a witness, hit him and then exited out the back window. 

Detective sergeant Brian Cameron yesterday says the list of things the object could be is extensive. 

“I can be quite definitive the pathologist is satisfied it is not related to a firearm.” 

Cameron says a specialist search group from Christchurch arrived on Tuesday and started a fresh search of the incident area, clearing scrub. 

It’s expected the search team will continue at the scene today. 

“They’ve taken swabs from certain points in the vehicle [that] we know the object came into contact with to see if we can determine its composition, man-made or rock,” Cameron says. 

Police are now keen to hear from a motorist who was towing a boat in the area at the time and is believed to have pulled over at the top of Maungawera Hill to allow a white ute to pass. 

A funeral for Hale is being held in Auckland today. 

Hale’s Alaskan girlfriend Danielle Oylear, who was in the passenger seat and uninjured, has been praised by police for doing a “remarkable” job of taking over steering the car – and managing to take Hale’s foot off the accelerator.