Driver leads police on chase from Nelson to Otago
Ricky James was refuelling his car in a small Otago town when a blue Subaru shot past – going fast.
He was about to leave the Palmerston Z petrol station. The Subaru driver was almost 16 hours into a police pursuit that spanned the South Island.
"She was pretty full on . . . It would've been going about 180 to 200 clicks. It would've been off the clock," James said.
He said a police car passed through the 50kmh area a short time later.
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"It must've been a twin turbo Subaru Legacy. It would've had a bit of work done to it to be that quick . . . They [police] had no chance to catch up."
Police arrested a 20-year-old man in Waikouaiti, north of Dunedin, shortly after 5pm on Friday. A police dog and handler were involved.
The man appeared in Dunedin District Court on Saturday morning charged with dangerous driving, failure to stop and driving while disqualified. He has been remanded in custody until October 18.
He had allegedly led police on three pursuits over 720km. Officers abandoned each one for safety reasons.
It is understood the driver broke speed limits in towns and overtook cars including on double yellow lines.
The first pursuit was in Stoke, near Nelson, about 1am.
Police made chase again in Christchurch on Tuesday morning.
About 2.30pm, a police unit tried to stop the Subaru as it sped through Palmerston, "but it fled in a southern direction down State Highway One", police said.
"Police followed the vehicle for a short time, but the motorist's driving was deemed too dangerous for the matter to continue."
A motorist headed the other way guessed it was travelling about 160km.
James continued south after seeing the chase. By the time he reached the south side of Waikouaiti, police were parked up or headed the other way.
"That would've probably been when he was on foot."
The driver abandoned the car near Matanaka Dr in Waikouaiti. A 20-year-old suspect was arrested while running away, it is understood.
Police said the man would be charged with driving while disqualified and for failing to stop for police, with other driving-related charges likely.
* An earlier version of this story said the chase started at 1pm, based on information from the police's media team. It was in fact 1am.