Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Four critical after one-minute pursuit ends in crash

Four teenage girls were allegedly fighting and knocking over tables at an Auckland cafe shortly before they were critically injured in a crash following a one-minute police pursuit.

The girls, two aged 16 and two 17, had to be cut from the car after it hit a concrete median strip and lost control before crashing into a concrete block wall on Kepa Rd in Kohimarama late last night.

Police said the pursuit lasted about one minute.

The car crashed through more than five metres of a 2m-tall concrete block wall, trapping the girls inside the vehicle.

At least one of the girls was still conscious and cried for help while firefighters cut them free, a witness said.

"One was screaming, 'I can't breathe, I can't feel my legs. I'm going to die, I'm going to die'," neighbour Humphrey Hart said.

"I heard the bang, it was pretty loud."

Neighbours said emergency services were at the scene immediately after the crash.

One woman, who did not want to be named, said she heard the car speeding and a siren before the crash.

"They must have been absolutely hoofing it," she said.

"We thought they had crashed into our fence. It was one hell of a bang. It's terrible."

Another neighbour two houses away from the crash said the impact shook their home.

The white timber home where the car crashed is unoccupied.

Neighbours said it was recently bought by a family who were in the process of moving in.

A labourer at the house this morning said the owner was aware of the crash and would have to wait for insurance before the fence could be repaired.

The crash came after police received multiple calls about the behaviour of a group of girls in and around a coffee shop in Mission Bay about 11pm.

Inspector Andy Brill of police northern communications said there were reports of disorder and fighting.

"There was a fair bit of uproar down in the Mission Bay area with these people earlier on," he said.

"They were fighting in there, knocking over tables and carrying on. There was all sorts of bedlam going on."

Auckland police District Commander Superintendent Michael Clement said a police patrol located the car the girls were in and established it had been stolen from Green Bay on Saturday.

Police tried to stop the car as it left Paritai Drive but the driver immediately accelerated and drove up Kepa Rd.

Inspector Jim Wilson told Radio New Zealand that police followed the stolen vehicle at some distance without activating the patrol car's flashing lights.

It then activated its lights and sirens for less than a minute.

Mr Wilson said police road spikes had been put in position to stop the vehicle.

"Our spikes were located further along, so the vehicle has lost control before they've made it to the spiked area."

The pursuit was "very, very brief and just a complete tragedy for everybody concerned".

"It's a fleeing driver situation, which is highly dangerous for everyone."

Mr Wilson said he was comfortable that police had followed procedures.

A full investigation would establish exactly what had happened.

Mr Wilson said police had been able to contact members of each girls' family, which had not been an easy task.

All four occupants suffered critical injuries in the crash and had to be cut from the car.

They were taken to Auckland Hospital.

Police are seeking witnesses to the behaviour in Mission Bay and the driver's behaviour as the vehicle was driven from Tamaki Drive, up Ngapipi Rd and on to Kepa Road.

- APNZ

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