An Auckland man says a car that sped past him during a police chase could have thrown his own vehicle off the road.
And there are now calls for police to review their pursuit policy to prevent further needless deaths.
Two people died following the pursuit early this morning in the suburb of Morningside. The driver of the full late model silver VW Golf led police on a chase on the Northwestern motorway and onto St Lukes Rd, before smashing into a tree.
While the driver survived the impact, a woman, 25, and a man, 29, who were sitting in the back seat of the car died later in hospital. Two other passengers received serious-moderate injuries.
This morning police confirmed the driver and four passengers were friends.
Auckland-based electrical engineer Hiyab Rehman said it was 1.05am when he turned onto the Newton Rd offramp from the Northwestern Motorway, headed towards the city.
"Then this car came out of nowhere and overtook me just six inches on the left hand side of my car.
"It was really high speed - at least 120 kilometres I reckon."
Rehman said the traffic light at the top of the offramp had just turned red. He stopped, but the silver car careened ahead.
"He saw the cop car was following about 200 metres behind him. It was almost going the same speed as the car."
"He went right through the traffic light. There was another car coming down from around K' Road. It looked like it slammed on its brakes when it saw the police cars and so it avoided colliding with the fleeing car."
Rehman saw the fleeing car turned back onto the Northwestern Motorway via the onramp on the eastern side of the bridge. He could see it was full, and saw three people in the back.
The police car followed it onto the motorway. Not long after Rehman said another police car came down from Symonds St and headed in the same direction.
Rehman said the experience was a huge shock.
"If he had hit me I reckon he could have thrown my car off the ramp or something", he said.
Rehman learned of the crash this morning and contacted police.
A road safety campaigner is calling for police to modify their policy on police pursuits following the incident - the second fatal police chase in Auckland in just a fortnight and the 13th nationwide this year.
Clive Matthew-Wilson said our current rules too-often ended in needless carnage.
""The police have other options: they can use surveillance cameras, helicopters, road spikes, or simply notify other police cars and quietly pursue the fleeing vehicle at a distance", he said.
A resident on Malvern Rd, which runs parallel to St Lukes Road, said she didn't hear a thing when the car exited the motorway, hurtled down St Lukes Road and crashed into a tree near Kings Plant Barn. However, her mother had been woken up by the commotion and flashing police lights.
The only signs of the crash that remain is a barkless portion of the tree which appeared to impact with the side of the vehicle, which spun on impact.
Detective Inspector Scott Beard said the pursuit began once police caught up to the car on St Lukes Rd. Having drivers flee police was a danger to other motorists and pedestrians, not just those in the car, he said.
"It is a concern, it creates a risk and danger not only to community, but to driver, passengers and the police."
No charges had been laid in relation to the incident, and police couldn't yet say if alcohol or seatbelts were a factor in the crash.
The crash brought the Labour Weekend road toll to four, one more than over the same weekend last year. The official holiday period ends at 6am on Tuesday.
A woman was killed when her car crashed on a Christchurch motorway on Friday night, while another person was killed in a crash near Turangi on Saturday morning.
Holiday traffic, wet weather and road closures resulted in lengthy delays for motorists headed back to the country's main centres today.
Motorists leaving the Coromandel faced snaking lines of traffic after a truck crashed into a ditch this morning.
Wet weather further down the country caused headaches for Canterbury motorists, while Wellingtonians faced lengthy delays too.