Man tackled after car crashes into Nelson bank

EMMA BEER
Last updated 12:23 02/12/2012

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A 31-year-old man is facing several charges after a car crashed into the ANZ bank building in central Nelson last night.

Wellingtonians Liz and Mike Ritchie were at Ford's Restaurant and Bar when they heard a loud noise between 9pm and 9.15pm.

They said a car, that appeared to be speeding, hit bollards on the pavement before crashing through the bank's glass frontage.

"We heard this almighty crash. We saw this car go straight into the front on the ANZ building. It was amazing," Mrs Ritchie said.

She said about seven police cars arrived "from all four corners" within a minute.

Before hitting the bollards, the car appeared to have clipped the back of a taxi with a female driver.

Mr Ritchie said the car looked like it had gone 15 metres into the building, ''all the way to the back''.

"What was worse was you could hear the roar of the engine as the car tried to reverse out."

One of the men in the car had then attempted to run but someone had tackled him to the ground and restrained him until police arrived, he said.

It was incredibly fortunate nobody had been killed.

"Luckily they didn't strike anything more substantial. If they had they hit a tree they would have died for sure. Or if they had hit a pedestrian... It's a busy night in town, they could have taken out a family."

Police have today revealed that they had attempted to stop the car in St Vincent St after seeing it turn to avoid a compulsory checkpoint.

"The vehicle initially pulled into the kerb, but as the police officer approached it the driver accelerated away," police said.

"The vehicle turned into the car park in front of The Warehouse and was pursued by police through this car park area coming out on to Hardy St.

"Due to the speed of the offending vehicle, police abandoned the pursuit after less than a minute.

"The fleeing vehicle continued up Hardy St into the central city at high speed, colliding with a taxi at the intersection with Trafalgar St. The driver then lost control, narrowly avoiding a number of pedestrians in the area before crashing through the main doors of the ANZ Bank.

"The four occupants of the vehicle were un-injured as was the driver of the taxi."

Driving while disqualified and drink driving are among the charges the arrested man will face when he appears in the Nelson District Court tomorrow.

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- The Nelson Mail

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