A stolen car reached speeds of up to 160km/h in a police pursuit lasting 30km before it clipped another vehicle and crashed off State Highway 1 in Northland.

The drama started when the Honda CRV, stolen from Whangarei, was spotted by police near Kauri about 1.15pm yesterday. The officer signalled for the driver to stop but the 23-year-old driver allegedly continued north.

Senior Constable Devon Milner said the officer identified the car was stolen and a pursuit ensued. Police said the car reached speeds of up to 160km/h and at times crossed on to the wrong side of the road.

Police were preparing to deploy spikes but as the car headed up passing lanes near Towai, the vehicle clipped another car and crashed off the road. Police say it was lucky no other vehicles were involved. The Honda went off the road into a ditch.

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St John ambulance staff tended to the Whangarei man on the side of the road before he was taken to Whangarei Hospital with a suspected broken leg. He was the sole occupant of the car.

Northland road policing manager Inspector Wayne Ewers said two investigations would be conducted as a result of the pursuit; one by the Independent Police Conduct Authority and the other a criminal investigation.