Three die in police chase

By Kirsty Wynn, Chloe Johnson, Siobhan Leathley

A young woman clambered from the back seat of a catastrophically "munted" car which crashed while fleeing police, killing three of her friends.

The driver and two passengers - a 24-year-old woman and two 27 and 28-year-old men - died when the car sped away from police and smashed through a power pole, a tree and a fence in Gisborne.

Senior Sergeant Maui Aben said about 9.45 last night police signalled for the driver of the white Mitsubishi to pull over near Wipere Street in Gisborne.

The driver did not, and sped off, driving well in excess of the 50km/h speed limit, he said.

Police followed for about 90 seconds, but the officer lost sight of the vehicle near the roundabout at the intersection of Lytton and Nelson roads.

After speaking with a man on Nelson Street police found the crashed car about two minutes after abandoning the chase.

One neighbour posted online that she had seen a boy racer go past at high speed, followed by police about 20 to 30 seconds later. "A small while later heaps of police, ambulances and fire went out."

St John ambulance Gisborne operations team manager Shane Clapperton attended the crash, and transported the 25-year-old survivor to the local hospital with head and body injuries.

"She didn't know what happened. We're not even sure how she made it out of the car," he said. "Munted is the right word. Nothing looked normal."

Clapperton has been in charge of the St Johns station since before the millennium, but said this crash was an eye-opener.

"It was a significant impact - the car has hit a power pole then other objects like a tree and fence. The power pole was in about 10 pieces."

Police would like to hear from anyone who might have seen the white Mitsubishi between 9.30 and 9.45pm.

They would also like to hear from the man police spoke to just prior to finding the crashed car.

The crash, at 9.48pm, came hours after another serious crash involving young people.

Two brothers had just driven their uncle home from a boozy family party when the older boy lost control in gravel. Aidyn Paki, 16, and Owen Paki, 12, had been drinking with family at their home on Matakana Island, near Tauranga, before giving an uncle a lift home at 3am yesterday.

After making the drop-off, the Toyota RAV4 being driven by Aidyn went out of control on a gravel road at high speed and crashed into a bank, rescue workers said. Neither boy was wearing a seatbelt.

TrustPower TECT Rescue Helicopter pilot Liam Brettkelly said the boys were found by worried family members who went looking for them when they did not return home after an hour. Both had broken legs and facial lacerations, and Owen had four hours of emergency surgery. "They had to cut the back of the seats out so they could slide them through the back of the vehicle," Brettkelly said.

He said bourbon cans were found in the car and there was a strong smell of alcohol. A cousin said the family had a gathering because their sister was visiting from Auckland.

"They had a bit to drink last night and one of the uncles wanted to go home. They crashed on the way back," he said. "It looks like he was trying to do some Fast and Furious sh**. He has been watching too many movies," he said.

Police said a blood sample was taken from Aidyn at the scene.

Meanwhile, a motorbike rider was killed today after they were hit by a car on Ngongotaha Rd, State Highway 5 at 5pm yesterday.

Serious Crash Unit are investigating the cause of the crash.

And the sole survivor of a Ruapehu crash that killed four Argentine tourists is conscious in hospital with his father by his side. Benjamin Blake, from Chile, woke to news that his friends had all died.

"My father is there and we are hoping and praying for him," younger brother Joaquin told the Herald on Sunday from Chile. "We are hoping the antibiotics and more surgery will help him."

- with APNZ

- Herald on Sunday

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