Themelis Arthur MACAROUNAS
New South Wales Police Force
Rank: Probationary Constable
Regd. # ?
Service: From 5 January 1987 to 20 October 1987 = 9+ MONTHS Service
Event date: 12 October 1987 about 3.35am
Event location: Oxford St, near Oatley Rd, Paddington
Death date: 20 October 1987 @ 4pm
Born: ? ? 1965
Age: 21 – 22 old
Cause of death: Motor vehicle collision – Pursuit – driver
Funeral date: ?
Funeral location: ?
Buried at: ?
About 3.35am on 12 October, 1987 the constable was driving a police vehicle along Oxford Street, Paddington assisting a Rose Bay Police vehicle in the pursuit of a stolen car. As the constable’s vehicle travelled around a sweeping left hand bend, the stolen vehicle, followed by the Rose Bay Police vehicle, was attempting a U turn at the intersection of Oatley Road. Constable Macarounas applied the brakes however the wheels of his vehicle locked and the vehicle spun around before colliding with a light pole. After being trapped in the damaged vehicle for about forty minutes, Constable Macarounas was conveyed to St Vincent’s Hospital suffering severe head, chest and internal injuries. He died on 20 October, 1987 @ 4pm.
The constable was born in 1965 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 5 January, 1987. At the time of his death he was stationed at Paddington.
November 6, 2004
Alone in his patrol car, Chris Thornton had the police siren flashing as he chased a white sedan through Woy Woy.
Thornton, 35, a highway patrolman, had been in the force for 15 years. He was, his mother says, “the best driver I have ever seen”.
The reason for the chase that night in April 2002 is unknown. Both cars were seen travelling at high speed. Thornton was about 50 metres behind.
Meanwhile, Leonard Rowley, 56, an unlicensed driver, was driving to his local KFC to pick up dinner. He saw the first car flash past and judged – wrongly – that he had time to turn out in front of the patrol car. Thornton tried to avoid Rowley’s car but clipped the back, veered onto the wrong side of the road and hit a power pole.
Thornton died on the spot, which is marked by a permanent stainless-steel cross. Rowley later received a suspended two-year sentence.
“His life from the age of 12 was about helping people,” says Thornton’s mother, Freada Thornton. “He was in the surf club and he was there to rescue people and then he went into the force and he was doing the same thing.” His father, Barry Thornton, says: “He loved life. He had been in Gosford for 15 years and was so popular with the community there.”
Police pursuits are, says Barry, a necessary evil: “If they don’t catch the criminals there will be more deaths on the roads. The ones that they’re in pursuit of are the idiots that have done the wrong thing to start with.”
But pursuits have come at a cost to the NSW Police Department. Fifteen officers have died as a result of high-speed chases, beginning with the death of Constable George Boore in 1937.
Details provided by the NSW Police Association show a steady stream of fatalities involving cars and motorcycles. The full list of casualties is as follows:
April 2, 1937: Constable George Boore;
June 2, 1954: Constable Cecil Sewell;
November 14, 1958: Constable Brian Boaden;
December 23, 1958: Constable William Lord;
October 14, 1961: Constable James Kinnane;
September 7, 1963: Constable Colin Robb;
December 2, 1976: Constable Terry Moncur;
January 3, 1985: Constable Wayne Rixon;
July 25, 1985: Detective-Constable Steven Tier;
October 20, 1987: Constable Themelis Macarounas;
August 24, 1988: Constable Peter Carter;
June 13, 1989: Constable Peter Figtree;
June 14, 1989: Senior Constable Glenn Rampling;
January 14, 2001: Senior Constable James Affleck;
April 13, 2002: Senior Constable Christopher Thornton.