Youths charged over Motueka car chase

MICHELLE SUTTON
Last updated 16:57 25/07/2012
police crash
Michelle Sutton

DITCHED: Police inspect the crashed Mitsubishi Chariot after it went through a fence off Hoddy Rd.

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A dramatic police chase this morning that began in Motueka and involved two stolen vehicles ended near Murchison after a stolen utility was slowed by road spikes.

Three youths, two aged 16, and one 14-year-old, have been charged over the incident.

The pursuit started about 7.15am when a Mitsubishi Chariot station wagon, with three occupants,  drove off from the Caltex Motueka petrol station. Police said the occupants had allegedly failed to pay for petrol.

Sergeant Rob Crawford, of Motueka, said police followed the car but abandoned the pursuit after reaching speeds of 125kmh to 150kmh while heading to Nelson on State Highway 60.

Police were forced to abandon the pursuit because it had become too dangerous, Mr Crawford said.

''The pursuit was abandoned due to speed and the manner of the driving.

''It was dangerous - the speed itself was a danger," he said.

The vehicle crashed in Hoddy Rd at Mahana about 7.20am, going through a fence and ending up in a ditch.

When the Nelson mail attended the scene rtd alcohol bottles were laying empty in the back of the vehicle. nte

Mr Crawford said the trio then allegedly stole another vehicle, a red Toyota Hilux ute,  from a Hoddy Rd property while police were still searching for them.

The pursuit was resumed when the ute was seen heading south on SH6, travelling through Kawatiri towards Murchison.

It was eventually slowed after running over road spikes laid between Owen River and Murchison.

The vehicle was being driven on two bare wheel rims when it eventually stopped in Matiri West Bank Rd, a dead-end gravel road off Matiri Valley Rd, said a police spokesperson.

One of the youths was caught immediately, and the other two fled into bush butwere found by a police dog handler up a tree a short time later.

Nelson Bays area commander Inspector Steve Greally commended his staff on the way they handled both pursuits.

"Staff made the right decision abandoning the first pursuit, given the speed and manner of driving involved.''
He said the second pursuit, while long, involved speeds mainly less than 60kmh.

Two 16-yeear-old youths and a 14-year-old boy have been jointly charged with two counts of unlawfully taking a vehicle, theft of petrol and three counts of theft from a car.

One of the 16-year-olds has also been charged with drink driving and a range of other driving fences. The trio have been remanded in custody to appear in the Nelson Youth Court.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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