A west Auckland couple chased down two young men who crashed into a tree while trying to evade police -- who were pursuing them from the scene of a burglary -- and held one down until officers arrived.
Jayde Thomas and Roger Te Wake rushed outside their home in Glenarden Way, Ranui, this morning, after hearing two loud bangs and seeing a car had crashed into trees opposite their house. Fearing the occupants were injured, they ran to help, but said two young men jumped out of the driver's side door and attempted to flee the scene.
"I saw them running and straight away I knew something was wrong. People don't run away when they crash," Mr Te Wake said.
"I just ran after them, and obviously I got the slowest one."
Despite the young lad's protestations and attempts to persuade Mr Te Wake to let him go, he held him down until police arrived.
"I was just full of adrenaline. Going for gold."
He was spurred on by the thought of his two girls, who normally play outside in the quiet residential street, he said.
"It's just because my kids play out there so I was just angry ... I get pissed off with anyone speeding around here," he said.
The car was travelling at speeds of up to 100km/h in a 50km/h zone.
The couple's two daughters, aged 5 and 10, had been standing at the bottom of the driveway waiting for their grandmother to pick them up to go shopping less than five minutes before the 11.45am crash.
"They were standing right there," Ms Thomas said. "Even if they were still there, they wouldn't have got hit, but they would have seen the whole thing and they would've freaked. It would have been very traumatising for them.
"That was my first thing, I was so mad at them [the alleged offenders], thinking that was too close to home, like literally."
A neighbour also reported seeing a woman standing with four children metres way from the crash site just as it happened, she said.
Ms Thomas recalled hearing two loud bangs and screeching of brakes, so loud "it sounded like it happened in our front yard almost".
"When we came out we saw a silver car had hit trees straight across from our house. My first thought was, 'someone might be hurt', so I ran straight to the car, but as I was running to the car, two males jumped out and started running.
"So my partner's first instinct was to start running, because he could tell there was some bad stuff going on. He ran around the corner and got one of them."
Police were quickly on the scene, she said, and she believed they had been in pursuit of the car but had lost sight of it moments before the crash.
"I think what has happened is they were hooning down Swanson [Rd] and decided to turn down this street, but it's a really tight corner, and they just sort of lost control and hit one tree, went through that and then stopped at a big tree. So there were two bangs.
"The car was just jacked up on a tree, so they both jumped out the driver's side.
"I was yelling out, 'hey, stop', and obviously they weren't going to stop."
Ms Thomas described the incident as "very intense".
Mr Te Wake said he was fired up and angry at first, but afterwards "felt pretty good" that he had helped catch an alleged burglar.
The police had praised him for his actions, he said.
"They were pleased at what I did, they were glad that I got one of them.
"They said I did a good job and all that."
The adrenaline had since worn off and he was feeling "pretty good", he said. But did not believe he had acted in a heroic or brave way.
"I'm just glad no one was out there, because normally, there's a few kids out there playing."
Police said the two men were spotted inside the home of a resident on Amreins Rd, Waitakere, about 11.30am. They fled the scene in a stolen car, which police found travelling at speed on Waitakere Rd towards Swanson Rd, a police spokeswoman said.
Officers began chasing the vehicle on to Swanson Rd, where it reached speeds of 100km/h, police said.
"Police lost sight of the vehicle on Swanson Rd by North Candia Rd. A short time later, police were notified of a crash at the intersection of Swanson Rd and Glenarden Way.
"It would appear they have attempted to turn left off Swanson Rd into Glenarden Way where they have lost control crashing into a tree."
Both men attempted to flee the scene on foot, but one was caught a short distance away, while the other was still on the loose, police confirmed.
The arrested man would be charged with two counts of burglary, unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle, and breach of bail.
Investigations were continuing into locating the second man.
Meanwhile, an alleged burglar was arrested north of Hamilton after several calls from the public about his bad driving.
The 24-year-old forbidden driver was caught under the influence and with stolen goods in the Subaru car, which had been linked to a burglary and a collision, police said.
After a chase, in which the young man attempted to flee the wrong way down a motorway and then tried to run away on foot, police realised he was linked to more than just bad driving, Waikato district road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace said.
"As they processed him for excess breath alcohol and his failing to stop, another complaint was linked to the car he was driving being involved in a collision on the nearby SH23, between Raglan and Hamilton," she said.
"A further complaint linked a near collision with the man's car being on the wrong side of the road in Ngaruawahia, and the burglary of a home on Ngaruawahia's Waipa Esplanade.
"A search of the car ended up in the recovery of a game console, television and frozen meat taken in the burglary."