Bystanders leap in to help in dramatic Wellington pursuit

Main Rd, Wainuiomata, where the incident happened.

Main Rd, Wainuiomata, where the incident happened.

When pepper spray couldn't subdue a man fleeing police, a mystery bystander came to the aid of a constable embroiled in a violent struggle with the driver of a stolen car.

And as another man fled police through the Lower Hutt suburb of Wainuiomata shortly after 5pm on Tuesday, locals turned out en-masse to guide police to another arrest, police said.

Do you know who the 'mystery man' is? Email

Wainuiomata, where the pursuit ended

Wainuiomata, where the pursuit ended

An officer was struggling to make the arrest on Main Rd, Wainuiomata, when a member of the public stopped and helped handcuff the man. 

"It was bloody great he helped out," said Senior Sergeant Andrzej​ Kowalczyk​. "We don't know who he is, he's a mystery man."

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Police in Wainuiomata were fortunate the public came to their aid in an intense pursuit.

Police in Wainuiomata were fortunate the public came to their aid in an intense pursuit.

At about 5.15pm on Tuesday police attempted to pull over a red car, which had been reported stolen only an hour earlier. 

The driver failed to stop, and a brief pursuit began through the streets of Wainuiomata.

"He was driving dangerously before losing control on Main Rd, spinning into a fence and power pole," said Kowalczyk.

Two men, aged 23 and 19, sprang from the crash site and ran into a nearby property with police constables on their heels, he said.

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"Both men tried to jump a fence, but the driver fell from the top of it and then picked up a shovel and swung it at one of the officers."

Managing to avoid the shovel, the officer wrestled the man to the ground and become involved in a "violent struggle".

"A good dose of OC spray did not affect him, and other police units were still minutes away.

"That's when a member of the public turned up and helped the constable get handcuffs on him. He's done a great job."

Meanwhile the second occupant of the stolen car was located a few streets away after more help from the public.

"It was bloody great work by those people to help out too. They've helped prevent the escape of the two men, one of whom is on parole.

"We are extremely grateful," Kowalczyk said.

A police spokeswoman said there was an "endless line" of residents pointing police in the direction of the fleeing man,

One man has been charged with resisting police, possession of a weapon, failing to stop for police, reckless driving, stealing a car, and possession of instruments for conversion.

The other has been charged with stealing a car and possession of a weapon.

 - Stuff

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