A driver who hit a cyclist and fled the scene this morning is dead after leading police on a chase through Whanganui that ended in a fiery crash.
Police were pursuing the car when it collided with the cyclist on St John's Hill. The driver then continued to Tayforth Rd, where the car collided with the back of a truck and caught fire.
Whanganui Fire Station senior station officer Gary Wilson confirmed the driver of the car died in the crash, but the truck driver was "all right".
Police were investigating the crash and had cordoned off Tayforth Rd this morning.
Inspector Mark Harrison said police attempted to pull the driver over at 9.14am, but the car fled police and hit the cyclist "seconds later".
"The driver continued to flee, however the pursuit was immediately abandoned and officers stayed with the injured cyclist as other police patrols went into search mode to see if the vehicle could be located," Mr Harrison said.
"A short time later the vehicle was seen again, and again the driver failed to stop for police."
Road spikes were put out on Rapanui Rd and the driver smashed into a culvert while trying to avoid them. The car then accelerated away for another 2km to where police had laid out more spikes.
"In a further attempt to avoid the spikes the vehicle has driven into a large truck which was stationary on Tayforth Road," Mr Harrison said.
"The car caught fire, and the driver died at the scene. The driver of the truck is shaken but is not injured."
A number of specialist police staff including CIB investigators are at the scene and a scene examination is underway.
An investigation into the circumstances of this morning's events has been launched, and a routine investigation into the pursuit will also be carried out.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority has been informed.
Great North Rd resident Lachie Cromar was in his house at the time of the first accident when he heard a crash and came out to see the injured cyclist lying on the street.
"He was just lying in the gutter," Mr Cromar said.
The cyclist, who is in his early 30s, was in a stable condition in Whanganui Hospital.
Several police cars and an ambulance attended the scene and the section of road by the shops was blocked off for traffic heading towards town.