A 20-year-old man has been arrested and charged with drink-driving and other offences following a horrific fatal crash which claimed an innocent cabbie in central Auckland this morning.

The 29-year-old taxi driver - believed to be on his way to pick up passengers - was killed when a speeding black Mercedes allegedly ran a red light.

A 20-year-old man has been arrested and charged with drink-driving and other offences following a crash that killed a 29-year-old taxi driver in the Auckland CBD.

The Mercedes driver and a passenger then allegedly fled the scene and were found only with the help of members of the public, police and the Eagle helicopter. Police dog units were also called to the scene.

The taxi driver died at the scene. Photo / Jason Oxenham
The taxi driver died at the scene. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Speaking outside Auckland central police station Detective Inspector Scott Beard said the 20-year-old driver would appear in Auckland District Court on Wednesday.

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The 20-year-old has been arrested and charged with driving with excess breath alcohol, driving causing injury and failing to stop and ascertain injury.

The person who died was a 29-year-old taxi driver, from Discount Taxis.

Police were speaking to the man's family and providing support.

Beard said the crash was avoidable.

Early indications were that the Mercedes had run a red light and ploughed into the innocent taxi driver.

Early indications were that the car had run a red light. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Early indications were that the car had run a red light. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"It is really disappointing when an innocent member of the public is driving and gets killed," he said.

The accused was in custody and would likely spend Christmas Day in the cells, he said.

The victims next of kin were still being informed and he couldn't be named, however Beard said the man's family were very upset.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard talks to the media about the fatal crash on Symonds Street in the early hours of this morning. Photo / Nick Reed
Detective Inspector Scott Beard talks to the media about the fatal crash on Symonds Street in the early hours of this morning. Photo / Nick Reed

He repeated police messages about driving to conditions, not speeding or driving under the influence.

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He declined to say how far over the limit the driver was alleged to be.

There was no suggestion the car was stolen.

Witnesses described seeing the black Mercedes speeding shortly before the collision on Symonds St, between Karangahape Rd and Alex Evans St.

The cars collided on Symonds St about 4.45am. Photo / Supplied
The cars collided on Symonds St about 4.45am. Photo / Supplied

The driver of the Mercedes and another person ran from the scene and were the subject of a police manhunt, with the Eagle helicopter and a police dog unit involved.

The pair were located shortly afterwards.

"The driver of the Toyota would not have had a chance," said one person at the scene.

"The driver's side of the vehicle was completely destroyed."

One witness said the Mercedes had sped past him on Symonds St, and he initially thought the driver had mounted a median strip further up the road. It wasn't until he moved closer to the scene that he saw another vehicle involved.

He and other witnesses questioned whether alcohol was a factor in the crash - the first fatality of the Christmas holiday season, which started at 4pm last night.

Residents in apartments above the scene were awoken by the collision.​