A late-model, white hatchback was seen speeding and erratically weaving in and out of traffic on Auckland's Northern motorway before it crashed into a truck in the West Auckland suburb of Massey yesterday afternoon.
A police chopper followed the car before the crash, but police on the ground did not pursue the vehicle, a police spokesperson said.
Earlier reports that the driver of the car was armed and had robbed a bank were incorrect, police said. However, he was wanted on other charges.
A number of police attended the crash and several marked and unmarked police cars were at the scene.
The front of the white car was badly damaged.
A police spokeswoman said a man has been arrested at the scene on Don Buck Rd near Aldern Rd.
A witness said police were armed and a section of the road was closed about 2pm.
Police were unable to confirm this evening whether any of the officers who were at the scene were armed.
Several people told the Herald they had seen the car driving dangerously and erratically on the Northern and Northwestern motorways.
One reader said he saw the car weaving in and out of traffic at over 100kmh near the Massey motorway onramp.
"There was little room for error and [the driver] was endangering the lives of every one around him. I then saw a police car in my mirror, lights flashing. I moved over to let [the police car] pass.
"They chased [the white car] to the Te Atatu offramp. [It] went over the bridge and back onto the motorway heading back to Massey. Where I lost sight of [the car]."
Another person who wrote the Herald said the car "was flying down State Highway 1" about 1.50pm.
"[It] was weaving in and out of traffic... [It] dived onto the motorway shoulder to avoid a truck.
"By the time I arrived at the Constellation exit he was well past a series of marked and unmarked police cars [which] were exiting behind me."
A driver said he saw a small Toyota which looked like the car on the Northern motorway.
"Flew past me at the Constellation Rd offramp from State Highway 1 northbound. Headed west toward Waitakere with, I counted, five police cars in hot pursuit."
However, police maintained no police vehicles chased the car.
An Aldern Rd resident said they heard a smash and saw smoke coming from the car, which was being followed by police, before it was hit by a truck in Massey.
"I saw a white car fly up the road followed by police cars."
The resident walked out on their deck after hearing sirens and a helicopter.
Another witness to the crash who wished to only be known as Richard, said officers at the scene were heard saying the driver had a gun.
He was also told by his children's school that the man robbed a bank in Henderson and that was why he was fleeing police.
"The car was flying down the road being chased," said Richard.
"The school told us that [the offender] robbed a bank and tried to get away, but you can't get away from a helicopter."
Police this evening said the man was not armed.
A police spokeswoman said: "The car involved was being monitored by the police helicopter as officers believed it was being driven by someone who was wanted by police."
When asked if the man was armed and if he was believed to have committed a robbery, she said: "We've no[thing] further to add."
Photos taken at the scene show a late-model white hatchback stopped on the road in front of a truck with its front crumpled.
It was surrounded by about six marked and unmarked police cars, many of which have had lights flashing.
The truck belonged to Dirtworks, an earthworks company based in Whenuapai.
Fire services and an ambulance were also at the scene.
A St Johns spokeswoman said an ambulance attended the crash but there were no injuries and no one was taken to hospital.
The road was cleared about 3pm.