A teenager is dead and the car's two passengers are in Waikato Hospital after the young driver crashed while trying to flee police on the outskirts of Hamilton today.
The pursuit began about 2am, after an officer tried to pull over a car driving with no lights on, district road policing manager Inspector Marcus Lynam said. However the officer chasing the vehicle had abandoned the pursuit by the time the crash happened.
It was now being investigated by the Serious Crash Unit and would be the subject of two other inquiries.
"From what we know at present a police patrol in Nawton noticed a car travelling on Rotokauri Rd without any headlights on," Lynam said.
When the officer tried to pull the car over, the driver slowed down, but then accelerated away "at high speed".
After travelling about 1km the officer abandoned the pursuit on Baverstock Rd.
"The officer has then crested a hill and saw the offending car in the distance appear to lose control and crash into a road sign before hitting a stone retaining wall near the intersection of Wexford Rise," Lynam said.
The 17-year-old driver was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene.
A male front seat passenger in the car suffered serious leg injuries in the crash while a female rear seat passenger, who was wearing a seatbelt, was treated for minor injuries, according to St John communications team leader Nicky Green.
Lynam said the Independent Police Complaints Authority, has been informed of the crash, as had the coroner.
"Though the resulting investigations are in their early stages it appears the appropriate procedures in managing the fleeing driver incident were followed and this appears to have been an avoidable tragedy at a time when we should be celebrating our national day."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Pals and playmates (pictures)
Reacting to a sudden cancellation
New Zealand's best deck built yesterday
Appreciating Tony Allen
The meaning of blogging