Man critical after being thrown from vehicle in collision with police car

By Kristin Edge -
Two policemen suffered minor injuries after a collision with a fleeing vehicle on State Highway 1 near Otaika Shopping Centre.
Two policemen suffered minor injuries after a collision with a fleeing vehicle on State Highway 1 near Otaika Shopping Centre.

A man is in critical condition after he was thrown from his vehicle following a collision with a police car during a pursuit through Whangarei city streets.

The 45-year-old man was scheduled to have surgery at Whangarei Hospital yesterday following the crash outside the Otaika shopping centre on State Highway 1 about 2am.

Two policemen in the patrol car received treatment for a mix of bruises and a moderate cut, with one officer requiring stitches.

Police spokesman Gareth Thomas said the pursuit began on Fairway Drive in Kamo, when officers suspected the vehicle was speeding.

At this stage of the investigation Mr Thomas said he had no information on the suspected speeds reached by the car.

During the eight-minute pursuit that followed, the car travelled through Kensington, central suburbs and on to Otaika, where it then went along High St, down Mt Pleasant Rd, heading back on to Otaika Rd.

Mr Thomas said the fleeing vehicle allegedly turned directly into the path of a patrol car on Otaika Rd, where the driver of the first car, the sole occupant, was thrown from his vehicle following a collision.

Another police unit had been preparing to set out road spikes south of Otaika when the collision happened.

Mr Thomas said the man was thrown into the centre of the road but he had no details on what distance he had travelled from his crashed vehicle.

All motorists north and southbound were diverted for several hours through Rewarewa Rd following the crash.

While officers continued to piece together events relating to the pursuit, the case had also been referred to the Police Conduct Authority as a matter of standard police process, as the incident happened during a police pursuit.

Police say a fleeing vehicle turned directly into the path of a patrol car on Otaika Rd, where the driver, the sole occupant, was thrown from his vehicle after a collision. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Police say a fleeing vehicle turned directly into the path of a patrol car on Otaika Rd, where the driver, the sole occupant, was thrown from his vehicle after a collision. Photo / Michael Cunningham

It comes after a low-speed police pursuit around Kaitaia on Friday about 1am, where a vehicle and a police car crashed head-on at the Pukepoto Rd/Te Reinga St intersection.

The pursuit began when the vehicle was seen in Matthews' Ave without lights, continuing at speeds of 50-70km/h, the driver weaving all over the road and making obscene gestures at the officers.

A 46-year-old Kaitaia man was finally arrested after being subdued with pepper spray, and charged with reckless driving, failing to stop and resisting arrest.

He received a ticket for driving with excess alcohol, 297 micrograms per litre of breath, and was released on bail.

Neither driver was injured.

Meanwhile, a 44-year-old man involved in a crash in Tikipunga on Sunday remains in a serious but stable condition in Whangarei Hospital.

The Nissan Skyline he was driving slammed into a power pole on Corks Rd about 12.30pm. The car was extensively damaged and nearly split in two. The power pole toppled over and was replaced but not before cutting electricity to 413 homes.

Police said the investigation was still at a very early stage so it was too soon to determine or discuss the cause of the crash.

Residents told the Northern Advocate they had seen the car driving up and down the road prior to the crash, when it swerved on to the footpath and hit the power pole.

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