A top police officer has pleaded with young drivers to stop for police cars after the deaths of three young men this morning.
Superintendant John Tims told a press conference at Counties Manukau police station the deaths of three teenagers in Mangere this morning was avoidable.
"I have a very simple and passionate message to drivers, particularly young drivers, if asked to stop by police, stop. These deaths are avoidable."
Superintendent Tims says alcohol was a factor in the crash, as was speed.
"On State Highway 20 (the Southwestern Motorway), the vehicle was travelling at approximately 160 kilometres an hour, and on Massey Road it was going approximately 100 kilometres an hour.
"That's a 50 km/h area.''
The three men were travelling in a car on State Highway 20 when they were spotted speeding, police said.
The first police who encountered the vehicle abandoned the short pursuit due to high speeds while the fleeing driver was travelling towards Mangere.
A few minutes later another police unit encountered it on SH20 and was then overtaken by the offending vehicle, a green 1995 Honda Accord, on the Massey Road off ramp.
Two men died at the scene while the third died in the operating theatre early this morning. The fourth occupant is in Middlemore Hospital with critical injuries.
Superintendant Tims added: "The staff that are either directly or indirectly involved have my support. We are looking for sightings of the vehicle on State Highway 20 or Massey Rd."