A police chase ended in tragedy last night when a car packed with young people flipped, rolled and smashed into a row of parked cars.

A resident said the car had flipped and ended up on its roof on top of a fence in Hobsonville Road, West Auckland. The accident came just minutes after the vehicle and its occupants had evaded police.

She said: "I heard sirens for a long time and then there was an almighty bang.

"There were heaps of emergency services around. People were coming home for the
evening and couldn't get into their homes.

"The car was full of young people. I saw a body lying next to the car but I think it had
been lifted out of the wreckage. Another person was led away by police.

"The Eagle (police helicopter) was hovering overhead for a long time."


A police spokesman said police had pursued the car for about three minutes after "it was seen running a red light".

The vehicle was lost in the Hobsonville Road area, close to the new Northwestern Motorway interchange. The spokesman said shortly afterwards, police officers found the vehicle had crashed.

The spokesman said a police inspector was at the scene and would remain there until early in the morning.

Traffic would be diverted.

A spokesman for St John Ambulance said their staff were called to help at 1.05am. The person who called said a car had rolled and crashed, leaving five poeple injured and trapping in the car.

The people trapped were forced to wait in the wreckage for more than 20 minutes as fire crews fought furiously to free them.

The St John spokeswoman said there was one dead person, one with critical injuries, two with serious injuries and one person with moderate injuries.

She said the three people with the most serious injuries were taken to Aucklnad City Hospital. The other person was taken to North Shore Hospital.