A 21-year-old New Zealand man faced court on Saturday after allegedly hitting a woman with a stolen hire car and fleeing, leaving her for dead.

Nicholas Michael Davison was charged with culpable driving, dangerous driving, fail to stop at the scene of an accident, fail to render assistance, burglary and theft on Saturday afternoon.

It is alleged that Davison stole a hired Toyota Corolla not long before he ran a red light and hit the 22-year-old Sydney woman at speeds of possibly about 100 kilometres an hour, according to police.

The incident occurred at a busy intersection in West Melbourne.

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Stuart McGregor, detective inspector of the major collision investigation unit, said initial investigations suggest the car hit the woman at great speed, before careering off the road, hitting a tree and then a power pole.

It is alleged that when 'good samaritans' came to the aid of the driver, he fled the scene on foot.

The crime scene for the hit and run was extensive, as the alleged high speed of the incident caused a long stretch of debris as the car continued to move.

During a press conference on Saturday, Detective McGregor did not hold back on his opinion of the driver.

'This is one of the lowest acts you can commit on the road,' he said.

'Not only have you decided that you're going to speed at outrageous speeds and that you're going to go through an intersection when it's a red light - but to then act in a way when you don't care about another human being by running off, to me it's just despicable.'
The woman had only arrived in Melbourne the night before to visit a friend, who was standing just behind her when she stepped on to the road and lost her life.

Detective McGregor said her friend was helping police with their inquiries, but he was 'devastated'.

'This was an absolute waste of life,' Detective McGregor said.

Davison was remanded in custody until his next court appearance. If he is found guilty, Detective McGregor says he could spend up to 20 years in jail.