Teen killed fleeing police
Police have released a photograph of the stolen car that was driven by a 17-year-old boy in a fatal police chase on the outskirts of Hamilton today.
The boy was killed when he was thrown from the car.
The car was carrying two passenger, a 14-year-old boy, and a girl, 15.
The boy is in a critical condition at Waikato Hospital and the girl suffered minor injuries.
The photograph of the car shows extensive damage, sustained when it crashed into a small retaining wall at the intersection of Baverstock Road and Wexford Rise.
Jeanette Schick, whose wall the stolen car hit, said she slept through the crash and learned about it from a neighbour after dawn.
''What an awful thing to happen,'' she said. ''I feel sorry for his parents and his friends.''
Neighbour Christian Morris was woken by the crash.
''I was sleeping and got woken up by this really loud bang and thought what the hell was that? I was about to get up when I heard the sirens about 30 seconds later and drifted back to sleep.''
Another neighbour, who asked not to be named,described the situation as sad. ''I hope the other two in the car are learning a lesson,'' she said.
The pursuit began about 2am today, after an officer tried to pull over a car driving with no lights on, district road policing manager Inspector Marcus Lynam said.
The officer chasing the vehicle had abandoned the pursuit by the time the crash happened, Lynam said.
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, Lynam said, but then accelerated away "at high speed".
After travelling about one kilometre the officer abandoned the pursuit on Baverstock Rd, he said.
"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.
Police say he was known to them.
Lynam said the Independent Police Complaints Authority had 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," he said.