Police: 'No idea' teens would take off
Police say a teenage driver who sped off and crashed into a concrete wall had been driving safely before they tried to pull her over, giving them "no idea" of what was about to occur.
Four teenage girls were badly injured following the pursuit in central Auckland on Sunday night, with one still in a critical condition yesterday.
Witnesses said the girls, two aged 16 and two aged 17, could be heard screaming after their car lost control during the chase and careered into the wall on Kepa Rd, near Kohimarama.
"I heard a really loud bang and skidding. There was quite a few cops outside. A woman was yelling that she was going to die," one witness said.
Emergency services cut the roof off the mangled car wreck to get to the women, police said.
The chase began after police were called to reports of disorder, including fighting and "misbehaviour" near a Mission Bay cafe around 11pm on Sunday.
Auckland city police eastern area commander Jim Wilson said that when the first patrol arrived, they noticed the group in a car that had been stolen from Green Bay the previous day.
A patrol car followed the car along Tamaki Drive while a cordon was set up to stop the vehicle, he said.
The car turned into Ngapipi Rd, then Kepa road, where the patrol car decided to pull it over.
"When the light and siren were activated the female driver of the car decided to accelerate away at speed," Mr Wilson said.
"Our car [had been] following it at quite a distance. It was driving safely, there were no concerns. We had no idea the driver would take off in the way that she did."
The driver quickly lost control, hitting a median barrier before colliding with the wall. Mr Wilson said the chase lasted under a minute. He would not comment on whether alcohol was a factor.
However, Mr Wilson said he wanted to stress how important it was for drivers - particularly young drivers - to pull over if police wanted to stop them.
"Otherwise we end up with the mess we have today. It is really important that we push home a message of driver responsibility."
Mr Wilson said police were hopeful for the victims' recovery.
They wanted to hear from anyone who saw the group in the Mission Bay shopping centre, or who saw their car as it was driven from Tamaki Dr, up Ngapipi Rd and on to Kepa Rd.
The incident was now under investigation by both the CIB and the Independent Police Conduct Authority.