Man appears in court over 730km police chase

By John Gibb

Police arrested this man after a blue Subaru station wagon was found close to the beach yesterday following a car chase. Photos / Linda Robertson, ODT
Police arrested this man after a blue Subaru station wagon was found close to the beach yesterday following a car chase. Photos / Linda Robertson, ODT

A 20-year-old man appeared in Dunedin District Court this morning charged with driving offences following a police pursuit from Nelson to Waikouaiti yesterday.

Michael George Massie, of Richmond, was arrested in Waikaouaiti yesterday afternoon following a series of police chases covering 730km, and during which a Subaru station wagon was reported to have reached speeds of more than 150km near Palmerston.

Massie was today charged with driving while disqualified, dangerous driving and failing to stop for police. He was remanded in custody, to reappear in the Dunedin District Court on October 18.

Two police cars are parked beside this Subaru, at Waikouaiti, at the end of a 16-hour drama yesterday. Photo / ODT
Two police cars are parked beside this Subaru, at Waikouaiti, at the end of a 16-hour drama yesterday. Photo / ODT

The chase began yesterday when Massie failed to stop for police at 1am near Nelson, and later he again failed to stop for police, driving away at high speed at Christchurch.

"A traffic unit attempted to stop the speeding vehicle in Palmerston this afternoon but it fled in a southern direction down State Highway 1," a police statement said.

After the speeding vehicle was spotted about 3.10pm, police commented that they had followed it for a short time "but the motorist's driving was deemed too dangerous for the matter to continue", police said.

Dunedin police were preparing to lay road spikes to stop the south-bound vehicle, but it turned off State Highway 1 at Waikouaiti and apparently parked in a quiet spot, on Matanaka Dr, between a grove of pine trees and the beach.

Things started to go further wrong for the fleeing driver when the vehicle he was driving was found by police about 4.40pm.

Police monitored the area to see if anyone returned to the vehicle.

A police officer then apparently spotted the man, wearing a blue T-shirt, and with his cap on backwards, walking across a field back towards Matanaka Dr, holding a soft drink which he may have bought at the township.

A few minutes later, he had been caught and arrested, with the help of a police dog and dog handler.

A police spokeswoman last night said a good deal of effort had been required to collect information about the incidents, because the car chases had passed through three police districts.

Several police pursuits were called off after high speeds were reached.

Police wanted to thank the public for their help in helping police to resolve the matter, she said.

- additional reporting Margot Taylor

- Otago Daily Times

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