Women remain in hospital after crash
Three women remain in hospital - two of which in intensive care - after a high-speed police chase through Palmerston North came to a fiery end when the fleeing car crashed into another vehicle.
The 22-year-old driver of a Subaru WRX was arrested and his 20-year-old passenger spoken to and released after the short pursuit ended in Vogel St about 1.25pm yesterday.
He will appear in the Palmerston North District Court today charged with dangerous driving causing injury.
A police communications spokeswoman said the white Subaru was travelling toward Main St when it passed a bus and crashed into the side of a dark blue Mazda Capella containing three women near Clyde Cres. The Mazda was allegedly pushed some distance down the road, before stopping on the curb in front of 174 Vogel St.
The three women were trapped in the vehicle and had to be cut out by the Palmerston North Fire Brigade.
The 58-year-old driver of the vehicle suffered moderate injuries, while an 88-year-old passenger was critically injured and a 60-year-old passenger seriously injured.
All three women were taken to Palmerston North Hospital where the 88-year-old and 60-year-old remained in intensive care this morning. The driver was stable in the wards.
The Subaru was badly damaged in the front. It stopped further up the street and caught fire. The two men got out of the vehicle uninjured.
Emma, a witness, said she walked to the Subaru and spoke to the passenger, who told her he had been filming the pursuit from inside the car. He boasted to her that they had reached speeds of up to 160kmh, she said.
A motorist, who did not wish to be named, said he was the one to alert police through the *555 service after he noticed the vehicle travelling well in excess of the 50kmh speed on Rangitikei St. "He was driving like a fricken lunatic," he said.
The motorist followed the vehicle until police caught up with it on Thames St, Roslyn.
He said he was tempted to bring his daughter to the site as an example of how not to drive.
"It could have been a mother and child out here [on the footpath] in a pram. It could have been anything."
There was some concern the Subaru might blow up, but the flames were doused before anything could happen. Road blocks stopped cars on Vogel St between Rangiora Ave and Andrews Ave for more than an hour while the fire brigade worked on getting the women out of the car.
Police marks from the crash led back up Vogel St past the entrance of Clyde Cres, and debris was strewn around the severely damaged Mazda.
Sergeant Jeff Veale confirmed police had been in pursuit of the Subaru when it crashed, but the police car was not involved in the accident. There would be an Independent Police Conduct Authority investigation into the crash because it happened during a pursuit.
Another witness, Teresa, had been walking on Vogel St when she heard the Subaru accelerating behind her. "I heard them speeding from way back behind me, before I heard the sirens.
"Very fast. He just whizzed by."
She was unsure how the Mazda was hit, but said a bus pulled over and its occupants got off.
One man said he believed the Mazda may have been pulling out of a Vogel St property a short distance away from where it came to a stop following the crash.