A motorist, described as "an idiot with a death wish", who took police on a drunken, high-speed, 20-kilometre chase has been sentenced to six months home detention.

The dangerous pursuit took place between the North Shore and West Auckland on April 18, shortly after 20-year-old Glenn Herman had finished serving a previous home detention sentence for other offending.

"You should be going to prison for this today," Judge Belinda Pidwell told Herman.

But she said his age and remorse were enough to save him from a spell behind bars.


Documents from the Waitakere District Court sentencing, which detail the 45-minute chase, were recently released to NZME.

Herman, with three passengers in a Suzuki Swift, was spotted in Birkdale where police tried to pull him over.

More than three times the breath-alcohol limit at the time, the driver put his foot down, reaching speeds of more than 100km/h in a 50km/h zone.

Accelerating to at least 120km/h, Herman shot down Albany Highway, swerving on to the wrong side of the road to avoid police road spikes.

He turned on to State Highway 18, down the off-ramp, heading towards Greenhithe on the wrong side of the motorway.

"Police abandoned the pursuit due to the risk to the public," the summary of facts said.

At the time Police Northern Communication Centre shift inspector Tony Wakelin had a more colourful way of describing it.

"Without police pursuing him he still continued to drive at speed into oncoming traffic, driving like an idiot with a death wish," he said.


Though police cars had to pull back, the Eagle helicopter continued to track the Suzuki Swift.

At one stage, Herman pulled off the motorway at Greenhithe down a dead-end road. Police tried to pen him in but he darted around a palm tree and the pursuit continued.

He drove west at more than 140km/h, again on the wrong side of the road, as other road users took evasive action to avoid a head-on collision.

The chase nearly ended when Herman sped straight over a roundabout and into a bank, but he was able to reverse out and continue.

The chopper tracked him as he exited State Highway 16 at Lincoln Rd and pulled into a driveway, and directed officers on the road to the location.

They found him behind the wheel with the engine still running.

"It is, quite frankly, a miracle that you are standing there today and that other members of the community were not affected by this appalling, sustained, dangerous piece of driving," Judge Pidwell said.

She called it "the trifecta of offending".

"Not only were you reckless but you were drunk and you were non-compliant with the authorities," she said.

The 20-year-old had a "significant number" of previous convictions, the judge said, but none of them were driving-related.

She emphasised Herman's second home detention term was his last chance.

"This is an opportunity for you to face your offending, to turn your life around and actually get to the bottom of why you have been doing this," Judge Pidwell said.

Herman was also sentenced to 200 hours community work and was disqualified from driving for 15 months.