Constable clings on for 300m

By Kristin Edge -
In one of two serious road incidents, there wasn't much left of the tyres on this vehicle after they were punctured by spikes during a police pursuit. Photo / Michael Cunningham
In one of two serious road incidents, there wasn't much left of the tyres on this vehicle after they were punctured by spikes during a police pursuit. Photo / Michael Cunningham

A motorist stopped for a breath test took off with a Whangarei policeman hanging out the window for 300 metres after the officer tried to take the keys from the vehicle, police say.

The officer was unharmed and the driver arrested.

Hours later, in an unrelated incident, a fleeing driver in a stolen car with two passengers allegedly reached speeds of 150km/h and drove on punctured tyres for the last 10km of the 56km-long chase south of Whangarei.

In the first incident, an officer trying to take keys from a driver was lucky not to be injured when the driver drove off on Puna Rere Drive, towards Tikipunga on Wednesday evening, Northland road policing boss Inspector Wayne Ewers said.

Mr Ewers said a 52-year-old driver had been stopped for a random breath test. The driver was arrested and a struggle ensued through the driver's window as the constable tried to remove the keys from the ignition.

Mr Ewers said the driver drove off with the constable three-quarters of the way through the window. The constable managed to get the car into neutral and it stopped about 300m along the road. Maurice Reti appeared in court yesterday on charges of failing to stop, possession of methamphetamine for supply, possession of utensils for methamphetamine, possession of cannabis, escaping custody, failing to remain stopped, operating a motor vehicle recklessly and giving false details.

He is to appear in court again on March 30.

"The constable is okay and has no injuries. These things can so quickly turn to injury," Mr Ewers said.

Meanwhile, the high speed pursuit began on Tarewa Rd about 1.15am yesterday after a vehicle failed to stop for officers wanting to carry out a breath test. Police checks revealed the vehicle had been stolen from a Tikipunga property the night before, with the owner last seeing it about 8pm.

Northland police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett said the stolen Honda headed south and allegedly reached speeds of up to 150km/h near Mata.

At the intersection with Port Marsden Highway, the vehicle doubled back towards Whangarei.

Mrs Kennett said the fleeing vehicle drove over two sets of road spikes, puncturing four tyres.

"They drove on the rims for about 10km," she said.

The vehicle was stopped near the sports fields on Kensington Park off Western Hills Drive about 2am.

An 18-year-old passenger remained in the car while two other males ran off.

A police dog and handler tracked the 18-year-old alleged driver, who was near a stream. A third person evaded police.

The alleged driver Ted Kemp appeared in Whangarei District Court yesterday.

He faced charges of refusing to give blood, dangerous driving, failing to stop and driving while disqualified.

Kemp is due to reappear today while the teenage passenger will appear on March 21 charged with unlawfully getting into a motorvehicle.

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