Whakatane diners had their meal interrupted tonight when a vehicle ploughed into six cars in the main street.

Diners eating at Javaman Café tonight described hearing a car tooting wildly and revving excessively before a series of bangs had them running out onto the street.

A witness to the crash said the driver allegedly drove over the top of the roundabout at the intersection of The Strand and Boon Street and ran straight into the back of a small five-door car that was travelling in the same direction and had just gone round the roundabout.

As the driver drove over the roundabout, she hit a road sign, the witness said, catapulting the pole 20m and into a parked car. The driver of the stationary vehicle, who did not wish to be named, said the bang alerted her to the vehicles.

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"I turned round and there were two vehicles heading straight toward me and going bloody fast."

As she tried to unfasten her belt, the woman said the hatchback, which was being pushed by the vehicle, clipped another parked vehicle and sent both off into a spin toward the curb. The hatchback collided with another stationary vehicle before both came to a halt.
"If they hadn't clipped they would have hit me for sure."

Diners and restaurant staff got both drivers out of the two vehicles before driver of the other vehicle allegedly ran off on foot.

One diner, Tamara Wright, gave chase along with an off-duty fireman who had followed the driver for some distance before the collision.

"I got to a roundabout and realised my shoes were slowing me down so I kicked them off and kept chasing,"

Ms Wright and the fireman caught up with the woman.

"We tackled her to the ground and kept her there until police arrived."

The driver of the hatchback, understood to be a teenage girl, was taken to hospital by ambulance.

Emergency crews blocked the section on Whakatane's main street which was closed for some time as the area was cleared.

A police northern communications spokesman said there had been a collision involving a car and stationary vehicles, and at least one person was injured. He said could not comment further.