Two 14-year-old girls in a stolen car reached speeds of 100km/h before crashing head-on into another vehicle on Wednesday night.
The pair and the woman they hit luckily escaped serious injury - but only because the offending driver and the oncoming victim braked heavily moments before the crash.
The crash happened on Hills Rd, Shirley, Christchurch, about 10.10pm.
Less than a minute earlier police had tried to stop the car at traffic lights in Shirley Rd. They had been alerted of a Honda Logo being driven erratically with no lights on in Richmond.
Police located the vehicle and tried to get it to pull over without success.
When it stopped at the traffic lights police made a bid to apprehend the driver.
Said Sergeant Dave Knowles: "In an attempt to speak to the driver, the officer got out of the patrol car, tapped on the window and tried to open the door but it was locked. The girl reversed the car and took off. She would have been going about 100km/h," he said.
Sergeant Knowles said the police officer gave chase but stopped after 20 seconds because the 14-year-old girl was driving dangerously on the wrong side of the road.
"Both girls tried to run after the crash but they were arrested. Luckily no one was seriously injured. They were all wearing seatbelts which helped. The female in the other car had a cut on her leg but that was it. The combined impact was less than 50km/h when the crash happened as both drivers had braked heavily," he said.
Both cars suffered moderate damage to the front.
"The car was reported stolen earlier that day. It's horrendously bad. It's another fleeing driver that not only puts their own life at risk but the lives of others. It's disappointing. I don't know what came over her to steal a car let alone drive it," he said.
The 14-year-old driver will appear in the Youth Court today charged with dangerous driving and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.
Sergeant Knowles said police are trying to establish the passenger's involvement and haven't decided whether any charges will be laid.
The pursuit has been reported to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.