A man is in a critical condition and being taken to hospital after a vehicle crashed into a tree near Moerewa this morning after an incident at a Paihia bank.
At about 10:45am, police received a report of the bank incident before a person - suspected to be linked to the Paihia incident - left in a vehicle on State Highway 1 before striking a tree.
At no point was a police pursuit initiated. The vehicle was spotted heading north by a police vehicle heading south towards Kawakawa, which then monitored the north-bound vehicle.
A man, the sole occupant of the car, hit the tree at speed, snapping the tree in half along with several concrete posts on a fence bordering the AFFCO freezing works in Moerewa.
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He is in a critical condition with neck and spinal injuries, and has been flown to Whangārei Hospital with a potential transfer to Auckland if required.
It is believed the man was not wearing a seatbelt as the first person on the scene found the man outside the car.
Police reported that SH1 between Kawakawa to Pakaraka was closed and asked motorists to avoid the area and expect delays.
In a comment from Police, they said enquiries were in their early stages, and police were working to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the incident.