The male driver of a car wasn't hanging around after a spectacular crash on a bridge on Gill Road, west of Awanui, on Friday afternoon.

The sole occupant, described by a witness as a male in his late teens or early 20s, extricated himself from the Holden Executive, which came to rest on its roof after leaving heavy skid marks on the approach to the bridge. The witness described him as a little dazed but keeping his head down. He said he was not hurt.

An elderly farmer, who had to brake sharply before reaching the bridge to avoid a head-on collision, approached the car with a rope, intending to tow it off the bridge.

While he was doing that the driver leapt into the farmer's Nissan Terrano 4WD and drove off.


Another young male, who had been travelling in front of the car on what was described by a witness as a dirt bike, left too. The driver of the car reportedly said to him, "We're outa here bro."

Police in Kaitaia were called to try to intercept the offenders, who only had two escape routes - Bonnetts Road, which leads to Kaitaia, and Sandhills Road, which emerges near Ahipara but has at least one side road leading to Pukepot).

As of yesterday there had been no sign of the driver, the motorcyclist or the farmer's blue/grey four-wheel-drive - registration AUN971.

The Holden -which was not listed with police as stolen - has undergone a forensic examination in a bid to identify the driver.