Rob Kidd is a NZME. News Service court reporter based in Auckland.

Man in high-speed chase with baby in car to remain in custody

The scene of the crash. Photo / Supplied via Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust
The scene of the crash. Photo / Supplied via Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust

A man who allegedly led police on a high-speed chase with a five-month-old baby in the back of his car will remain in custody.

Travis Clarke, 22, appeared in Auckland District Court this afternoon on a charge of breaching bail after being discharged from hospital following yesterday's crash.

The bail breach was admitted and though a new bail application was initially made, it was later abandoned so police could check an address.

Read more:
'I missed the crash by about 20 seconds'

More serious charges were likely to follow after a Serious Crash Unit investigation, police said.

Police pursued the car allegedly driven by the defendant on State Highway 16 for about five minutes before it crashed.

A female passenger was in the front seat of the vehicle and her baby boy was in the back.

All three were taken to Auckland City Hospital where the man was put under police guard. They were all in stable condition yesterday.

Inspector Mark Fergus said police had no idea there was a baby in the car when they engaged in pursuit.

The incident began when a police patrol clocked the car being driven at 124km/h near Waimauku.

Clarke allegedly pulled over for police initially, but then sped off as officers approached.

At the crash site, police saw the baby lying next to the car and immediately moved it to safety and rendered first aid, Mr Fergus said.

Andrew Hendry, the owner of Coopers Creek Vineyard near Waimauku, northwest of Auckland, pulled into the winery driveway moments before the car lost control and rolled onto its roof outside the vineyard gateway.

"I looked out to the road and saw a car rocking on its roof. It rocked for about 10 seconds," he said.

"Two police cars arrived and an officer got down on his knees, picked up the baby [which was lying next to the car], and lay it down on the grass on the side of the road."

The Independent Police Conduct Authority called for a review of fleeing driver policy when it appeared before Parliament's law and order select committee on Wednesday.

But Police Commissioner Mike Bush said policy would not be reviewed as it was already robust.

Clarke will appear in Manukau District Court next week where he will likely apply for bail.

- NZ Herald

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