'Catch me if you can' and they did

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A fugitive who eluded capture for almost a month after a high-speed Sunday afternoon car chase in Napier taunted police online in a Facebook photo of himself with a gun and a message saying "catch me if you can".

But the game was soon up for 42-year-old Dion John Lange, who after what police called an "extensive manhunt" was found still in Napier, hiding in a garage on a suburban property when the Armed Offender Squad arrived last Friday.

In Napier District Court yesterday he pleaded guilty to five charges stemming from the pursuit which happened on April 29, and was remanded in continued custody for sentencing on July 6.

He admitted driving while suspended, failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, intentional damage and assault with a weapon (the Ford Falcon he was driving).

Police said the pursuit began when officers saw a car u-turn and drive-off at speed in Wellesley Rd, just after 4pm on April 29.

Police red and blue lights and a siren were activated to get the driver to stop but he accelerated to speeds which hit 100km through busy Marewa and Maraenui Sts.

Other vehicles had to take evasive action, in at least one case driving on to a footpath, to avoid colliding with the vehicle, before it was finally stopped and blocked by patrol cars in Hillary Cres, Maraenui.

Lange rammed the Falcon into the door of a patrol car as an officer was trying to get out. The officer escaped injury but the patrol car was hit with such force it was shunted forward.

Lange, who has previous convictions involving firearms, robbery and escaping custody, leapt out of the Falcon and ran off.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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