An accused carjacker at the centre of a chaotic police chase north of Wellington yesterday has appeared in court.
Manuel Wiremu Parkinson, 25, appeared in the Porirua District Court this afternoon charged over the lengthy pursuit, in which he is said to have stolen and crashed three different vehicles, injuring several members of the public in the process.
The wild chase began about 7.30am in Porirua, where Parkinson allegedly punched a woman in the nose and dragged her from her car, fleeing in the stolen vehicle.
He then travelled north on State Highway One, crashing several vehicles and stealing more in his escape attempt, police said.
Witnesses described the man allegedly trying to pull people out of their cars after each crash.
He was arrested after an unmarked police car rammed the vehicle he was driving, after its tyres had been spiked.
Witness Sefulu Nafatali was sitting in a truck when he heard the sirens and saw the ramming.
He thought it was just a car accident until he saw police pulling rifles from the trunks of their cars.
"They approached him with rifles and he just gave up straight away," he said.
Four people were injured in the saga as they were robbed of their cars in Poplar Ave and the Raumati Beach shopping area. Another woman was rear-ended as she sat in her car.
Parkinson is charged with assault with intent to rob, intentionally damaging a house fence, stealing an exhaust manifold, two counts of robbery, one count of robbery by punching someone in the face, and driving while disqualified.
He also faces two counts of dangerous driving, one count of reckless driving, two counts of failing to stop to ascertain injury after a crash, and three counts of failing to stop for red and blue flashing lights.
Parkinson also has unrelated charges of assault with intent to injure and impeding the breathing of a woman. Those charges relate to alleged offending the day before the police chase.
Parkinson will next appear in the Porirua District Court later this month.