An unlicensed 16-year-old driver is in a serious condition after rolling his car three times during a police pursuit near Dunedin that hit speeds of up to 140kmh.
A patrol car sped after a Toyota Rav 4 as it was clocked at 122kmh about 10.45am on State Highway 87 - Clarks Junction-Lee Stream Road - between Middlemarch and Outram, Senior Sergeant Brian Benn said.
It ''doesn't appear'' the boy had a drivers' licence, he said.
''That might have been in his mind when deciding what to do when the police car was after him,'' Benn said.
The teen failed to stop and continued to overtake about three cars on the 100kmh rural road.
But apart from his speeds getting up to about 140kmh, his manner of driving was ''not too dangerous'', Benn said.
''The risk factor was his speed.''
After about four minutes, he lost control on a corner, rolled three times and came to rest on a farm fence, Benn said.
It was possible some sun strike was involved, as officers noted the sun was at eye level at the time.
The rescue helicopter took the teen to Dunedin Hospital in a serious condition.
An ambulance spokeswoman said he was unconscious before being transported.
Benn said the Serious Crash Unit was investigating and it was unknown what charges the boy would face.
Initial indications were that the pursuit was conducted in accordance with police policy.
''I guess we're thankful there was only one vehicle involved. We had a police car out in the right place...and it comes down to a driver making a bad decision and that he failed to stop,'' Benn said.
''If only he had stopped, it was probably only going to be a fine."
- The Press