Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Smash ends carjacker's spree

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Contact: newsdesk@herald.co.nz

Photo / Martin Sykes
Photo / Martin Sykes

A father driving home from a meeting unwittingly ended a fleeing motorist's dramatic crime spree across Auckland yesterday.

The driver evaded police for more than 24km through residential areas, allegedly driving the wrong way up the motorway and carjacking a mother and baby before ploughing into Felix Birkbeck's ute in West Auckland.

Mr Birkbeck, 31, was driving home along Portage Rd in New Lynn when the driver crossed the centreline and headed straight for him.

"My first reaction was just to get the hell out of the way ... I saw that he was swerving right towards me. I just managed to pull out of the way and then he hit my front left corner," Mr Birkbeck said.

"He spun me 45 degrees and he spun 180 degrees. He got out in a bit of a flurry and I thought he was going to try to do a runner ... Then he just put his hands up.

"When he did that I heard the sirens and thought he must have been a really bad boy."

The driver was arrested immediately and is in police custody. He is expected to appear in court today.

Police allege he smashed through a fence in a stolen Honda Prelude in Maplesden Drive, Clendon, at 8.44am.

Police pursued him briefly but abandoned the chase after he turned on to busy Roscommon Rd.

The Eagle helicopter followed as he entered the Southwestern Motorway, drove off the Mahunga Rd on-ramp and drove "erratically" around Mangere Bridge. He then got back on the motorway before exiting on Hillsborough Rd.

"Eagle described the car as passing vehicles any which way he could, including on the left-hand side, and overtaking on double yellow lines," police said.

The driver continued to Kinross Rd and collided with a white Toyota Corolla, forcing it to stop.

He pulled the female driver out and she just managed to get her 2-year-old daughter out before he sped off. Moments later he slammed into Mr Birkbeck.

"You don't realise how bad it is until you get out of it and you see pictures on the internet. It's frightening looking back on it," Mr Birkbeck said.

He suffered whiplash but was more worried about being out of pocket. He owns Landcraft, a landscaping business, and the ute was his work vehicle.

As police have taken it, he and his two employees will be out of work for at least a few days.

Mary Murray, who lives nearby, said the impact was massive.

"I heard a smash, crash, bang and nearly had heart failure. It happened so fast.

"The truck hit the white car and it spun around in a u-turn. It swung all the way around. It just smacked into the car.

"The stupid boy tried to take off, would you believe it. But the police surrounded his car, they bombarded him. He tried to get out but they already had him."

- NZ Herald

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