A 39-year-old Whakatane man was lucky to escape injury after his car lost control and hit a power pole during a police pursuit in Central Hawke's Bay.
An officer in a patrol car saw the man do a "burnout" near the Leopard Hotel in Waipukurau's Ruataniwha St about 1am yesterday before driving away at speed, police said.
"An officer witnessed the burnout and the vehicle took off," Waipukurau police senior sergeant Ross Gilbert said.
"It went toward Tavistock Rd, where the driver lost control on a sweeping bend and hit a power pole."
The wooden pole came crashing down on the vehicle and landed across the bonnet, causing "extensive damage" and writing the car off.
Fortunately, the driver and his female passenger were unscathed.
Police said the vehicle had been pursued for only about a minute before it went out of control.
Mr Gilbert said speed was a factor, but it had yet to be determined whether the driver had been drinking.
The 39-year-old faced a number of driving charges.