A boy is in custody after a 20km police chase across the Waikato early this morning.

A police spokeswoman said a car driving on Hamilton streets without headlights was spotted by police at 3.40am.

Officers tried to pull over the vehicle but it sped off, heading north along the Waikato Expressway.

Police gave chase and a near-20km pursuit ended after the vehicle crashed in Ngaruawahia when it struck spikes laid across Great South Rd.

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The police then found an unlicensed 13-year-old boy behind the wheel.

Two youths inside the vehicle were taken into custody but one has since been released.

A 13-year-old Hamilton boy remains in police custody.

Both were due to appear in the youth court today.

The police spokeswoman said the vehicle had been reported stolen from Hamilton yesterday.

The chase followed a fatal crash in Manukau night after a 32-year-old driver fled police.

The three-car pile-up on Great South Road injured five others.