The driver of a speeding vehicle which caught fire at the end of a bizarre police chase had no choice but to turn himself in after hiding in dense bush and gorse proved too rough, a witness says.
Police pursued the vehicle after attempting to stop the car for speeding on Saturday afternoon.
The car pulled over to the side of the road and a hitch-hiker got out. The driver then continued on at speeds up to 150km/h, police said.
The pursuit ended on Paihia Rd near Opua when the vehicle caught fire and drove off the road in to scrub about 4.45pm. The driver then fled on foot.
Fits Schouten from the Bayriver Bed and Breakfast on Pahia Rd in Opua saw the incident unfold.
He said he saw a vehicle crash into the side of the hill near his property, before cops drove up his driveway to turn around and head back to the scene.
Mr Schouten said by then, the driver had jumped out of the car and taken off on foot into dense bush and gorse near his property.
Police then combed his property and the bush.
"The cops had gone through the bush but couldn't find anything," Mr Schouten said.
Police were about to give up when the driver turned up on the easement track behind a shed on his property, Mr Schouten said.
"I think the guy -- when he was running through the bushes, it's all gorse and prickly, it's really rough as -- I think by the time he got to grass, going back was just not an option."
The Fire Service was called to the fire under suspicion the car may have been used to manufacture methamphetamine.
However, Megan Ruru of the Fire Service said once the fire had been extinguished it was clear the car had not been used as P lab.
Mr Schouten said firefighters did a great job of containing the fire.
"They just let the car burn out ... a couple of hours later it was picked up by a tow truck, they just pulled it out of the bush and that was it, job done."
The driver had been due to appear in court today.