A male driver who fled police and was allegedly speeding and drunk has been seriously hurt when he crashed his car.
Inspector Brett Calkin said the crash took place in Omata in New Plymouth in the early hours of today.
Officers were initially called to a New Plymouth home after being told a person had been assaulted and the person allegedly responsible for the attack had driven off.
Police on the way to the house then saw the car coming and attempted to stop it.
A man behind the car's wheel failed to stop and tried to evade police, Calkin said.
He was the only person in the car and crashed into a tree a short time later on South Rd, near the intersection of Beach Rd.
Calkin said speed and alcohol were suspected to be factors in the crash.
The man was transported to Taranaki Base Hospital in a serious condition.
"This is a terrible outcome for the driver, his family and our staff," Calkin said.
"The decision whether or not to pursue a fleeing driver is always a tough one and it's one our staff take most seriously."
"We continue to urge anyone signalled to stop by police to do so immediately."
"It is simply not worth putting yourself and others at risk."
The Independent Police Conduct Authority and Police investigators will examine what happened during the pursuit.
• Police would like anyone who witnessed the crash to phone 06 759 5500.