Police have charged a man with kidnapping after a woman was dragged behind a car for a kilometre on State Highway 1 yesterday.
The woman, a 37-year-old mother of three, is in intensive care at Waikato Hospital with serious injuries after the incident between Putaruru and Tokoroa.
The hospital said she was in a stable condition.
It is understood she was trying to escape an alleged kidnapper when she climbed out of the boot of the speeding car and became snagged.
Witnesses say the woman's body was "like a dummy bouncing up and down" and that the asphalt was smeared in blood.
The 26-year-old man arrested earlier today has been charged over the incident.
Police said that the inquiry was focused on how the woman came to be in the boot of the car.
Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner said it was believed the woman got into the car with the driver in Rotorua.
It is not known whether the pair knew each other or whether the arrested man had links to any gangs.
The man will appear in Tokoroa District Court tomorrow to face the kidnapping charge.
Police said they want to speak to anyone who saw the green Subaru sedan between Rotorua and Putaruru.
Horrified drivers raised the alarm yesterday as the car sped north towards Putaruru.
"There were a number of heroic attempts by members of the public to get the car to stop, without success," Senior Sergeant Turner said.
He said the car sped off after the woman came free.
She was still conscious when the emergency services reached her. One medic said: "She was conscious throughout - but only just."
A tractor driver who spotted the woman on the road stopped her from being hit by other cars by positioning his vehicle across the highway.
Hamilton Westpac rescue helicopter pilot Dan Harcourt said it was one of the worst sights he had seen in his 10 years in the rescue chopper service.
"There was a fair amount of blood on the road at the scene around the patient, and also in my helicopter at the end of it," Harcourt said.
"They are saying she was dragged along the road, and that looks to be the case because of the injury to her lower legs."
Police from Rotorua, Tauranga, Tokaroa and Taupo are working on the enquiry, and the car is being examined by forensic experts today.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Tokoroa Police on 07 8865189 or crime stoppers on 0800 555111.
- Fairfax Media