A man has been killed and two others hurt in a crash in Taneatua late last night following a police pursuit.
Bay of Plenty Road Policing Manager Inspector Brent Crowe said about 11pm a police pursuit was initiated when the driver of a Mazda Familia vehicle failed to stop for police in Whakatane.
"Within one minute, officers in pursuit determined the vehicle's excessive speed posed too great a risk to its occupants and the public and abandoned the pursuit," Crowe said.
About four minutes later the car was found on Taneatua Rd, about 6.5km south of where police abandoned the chase, he said.
"Initial inquiries indicate the vehicle lost control on a sweeping right-hand bend, left the road at speed, become airborne and struck a large tree."
The male driver, 27, died at the scene.
A second person, the back-seat passenger, was taken to Waikato Hospital with critical injuries. A front-seat passenger sustained minor injuries, Crowe said
The Serious Crash Unit attended, with the road reopening at around 3.30am today.
"While police were not pursuing the vehicle when it crashed, the circumstances surrounding both the pursuit and the crash will be thoroughly investigated and the Independent Police Conduct Authority notified," he said.
No further detail would be released until all next-of-kin have been notified.