Teenager used stolen vehicle to ram police cars in an attempt to escape
A teenager driving a stolen car rammed police patrol cars while trying to escape capture during a high-speed chase in Taranaki.
Three police cars were damaged during Sunday's pursuit, which reached speeds of up to 100kmh in a 50kmh zone and up to 150kmh on the open road.
Two 16-year-old boys were arrested and face a raft of charges following the pursuit, the second Taranaki police were involved in over the weekend.
The first chase was in Inglewood just before midnight on Saturday and was abandoned after the driver involved raced away at speeds of up to 180kmh in a 50kmh zone.
Regarding Sunday's pursuit, Sergeant Bruce Irvine said police spotted the car, which had been stolen from near Taranaki Base Hospital, just before 3pm and tried to stop it but it sped off.
A short pursuit was abandoned after the teenage driver reached dangerous speeds.
However the vehicle was located a short time later heading south on SH3 and police followed it at a distance to Egmont Village, about 13km from New Plymouth, and up Egmont Rd.
"That allowed other police patrols to converge on the area and set up cordons."
Road spikes were used on Egmont Rd to try and stop the vehicle but the driver managed to avoid them and police began to chase the vehicle again along SH3 heading back towards New Plymouth.
The driver stopped on the wrong side of the road facing oncoming traffic, near Lake Mangamahoe, and was blocked in by two patrol cars.
"The offender has then reversed into and rammed a patrol car and he has then gone forward and rammed a second police car and has gone back and forth and forced his way out."
The driver took off again but lost control at high speed, veering across the road and hitting a bank.
The teenager then crossed the road again and attempted to go up a farm access driveway but crashed into a hedge and fence at the entrance before a patrol car was used to force the car into a bank where it came to a halt.
Irvine said the road was busy at the time and described the teenager's driving as horrendous.
"The potential for fatalities at that speed with inexperienced drivers is massive.
"They are a danger to themselves, us and every other road user."
Irvine said high speed pursuits were not something officers enjoyed.
"Despite what you see in the movies these things are terrifying.
"The police officers involved are actually thinking about the potential consequences during the pursuit, including the family that's coming the other way in a car.
"There's no feel-good factor about these things at all, they are dangerous, they are scary and our staff don't like them but it's something we have got to do."
It's alleged it was the third car the two 16-year-old boys caught in the vehicle had stolen on Sunday.
The teen is facing three charges of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, two each of dangerous driving, aggravated failing to stop and attempting to unlawfully take motor vehicles and one of reckless driving.
He has been remanded into the care of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki, to reappear in the New Plymouth Youth Court on July 31.
His passenger has been remanded on bail to reappear on the same date facing one charge of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and two of attempting to unlawfully take motor vehicles.
Meanwhile the driver who sped off from police in Inglewood on Saturday night had a lucky escape after his car burst into flames when he crashed.
Senior Constable Vaughan Smith said the driver admitted he had reached speeds of up to 180kmh in a 50kmh zone and hadn't stopped for police because he had been drinking.
The driver crashed a short time later on Tarata Rd, near the intersection with Bristol Rd, just outside of Inglewood.
"He managed to get himself out of his vehicle before it burst into flames," Smith said.
The driver was arrested and charged with drunk driving, dangerous driving and failing to stop, he will appear in the New Plymouth District Court on July 27.