Two people have died in an early morning police pursuit that ended when the driver crashed into a tree in the Auckland suburb of Morningside.
The driver, 22, survived the crash, and two others received serious-moderate injuries in the crash that happened on St Lukes Rd at 1.12am.
The two who died, a woman, 25 and a man, 29, had been sitting in the back seat of the car. They were initially taken to hospital in a critical condition, but police confirmed later this morning they had died.
Residents who live nearby reported hearing a loud bang at the time and not long after saw emergency services performing CPR in the middle of the road.
"I thought someone had crashed into the house, because it was really loud," said the resident, who did not want to be named.
"I could see three people from the car. I saw the first two get stretchered away and taken away in an ambulance, and then they were performing CPR on the third person for quite a while, probably about five to 10 minutes."
She recalled seeing the car wrapped around a tree, a dozen police cars and four ambulances and a fire engine at the scene shortly after 1am.
The tragedy unfolded barely minutes before the fatal crash, when police spotted a speeding vehicle on the northwestern motorway at 1.08am.
Inspector Scott Beard said once police caught up to the car, which had been travelling at 130km/h in an 80km/h zone, a pursuit began.
The late model silver VW Golf exited the motorway at the St Lukes off-ramp and at 1.12am, and when overtaking another vehicle crashed into a tree on St Lukes Rd near Kings Plant Barn.
The only signs of the crash that remain is a bark-less portion of the tree which appeared to hit the side of the vehicle, which spun on impact, and was left facing in the opposite direction to which it was travelling.
Items from the car, including clothes and cans, were left strewn on the road after impact.
Beard said police in the motorway unit were 200 - 300m behind the fleeing car at the time of the crash.
The remaining three passengers suffered serious to moderate injuries.
He said there was no indication the vehicle was stolen.
Beard said a decision on charges, if any, had not yet been laid.
He said having drivers flee a police pursuit was concerning and a danger not just to those in the car, but the wider community.
"It is a concern, it creates a risk and danger not only to community, but to driver, passengers and the police."
He said the crash happened when the driver of the little silver car tried to overtake another, and lost control on the median grass strip.
Beard said the driver of the vehicle that was overtaken had been in contact with police.
He was unable to say more at this stage.
He was also unable to say if alcohol was a factor, or if seatbelts had been worn at the time of the crash.
Earlier, Northern fire communications shift manager Paul Radden said firefighters were called to the crash scene at 1.25am today.
Radden said there were no people trapped in the crash and firefighters assisted police and St John Ambulance crews at the scene.
Police are asking for the driver of the vehicle being overtaken at the time of the crash, as well as any other witnesses to the pursuit to call Auckland Central Police Station on 09 302 6400.