The driver of a car that crashed into another vehicle while fleeing police, killing an innocent man in Christchurch, was a 17-year-old teen.

Police named the man who died in yesterday morning's incident as 64-year-old Kenneth Patrick Gerard McCaul, of Christchurch.

The teenage driver is expected to be released from hospital today, while four passengers, all aged in their teens, remain in hospital in a moderate condition.

The incident began when the driver of a black Toyota Caldina driving erratically failed to stop for police in Papanui Rd at about 4am on Tuesday, the Herald understands.

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The Toyota hit the car driven by McCaul, who sustained critical injuries and died a short time after he was taken to hospital.

"The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation and as such we're unable to release further details at this stage," said Canterbury Metro Area Commander Superintendent Lane Todd.

"Our focus as police is on preventing harm. This is a devastating outcome and the last thing any police officer wants to happen when they come to work.

"I want to offer my sincerest condolences to the loved ones of Mr McCaul."

Todd said the officers involved are receiving support.

No arrests have been made at this time.