Two police officers have been hailed as heroes after they saved the lives of two men they had been pursuing at high speeds just moments earlier.
Tasman Superintendent Richard Chambers praised the "heroic actions" of the officers, who he said risked their own safety after the chase went wrong in Blenheim on Friday.
The 2km pursuit reached speeds of around 100km/h, double the speed limit on the stretch of road.
The 23-year-old driver fled down Grove Rd before crashing into an oncoming CourierPost truck about 11pm. As the car's engine caught fire, the officers rushed to pull the men from the wrecked Subaru.
The men were discharged from Wairau Hospital with minor injuries yesterday morning. The driver was likely to face charges, including failing to stop and reckless driving, when the investigation was complete.
Police said they gave chase after the car, spotted doing burnouts, failed to stop.
A Blenheim Super Liquor employee said the accident happened just outside the store, which was closed at the time. She said the road was open and she had no problems getting into work yesterday morning.
Blenheim Backpackers assistant manager James Davidson said his friend had overheard the chase on his police scanner, and called him yesterday morning and told him about it. Davidson, 500m away at the motor lodge on Budge St, said he heard the police car drive past - but that was nothing unusual in that neighbourhood.
Both vehicles were wrecked but the courier van driver was unharmed. State Highway 1, which connects to Grove Rd, was closed for several hours.By Siobhan Leathley