The driver of a car wanted by police allegedly failed to stop before the vehicle flipped on to its roof and was involved in a collision with two other vehicles.
Three people suffered moderate injuries in the crash on Fenton St just before 1pm today.
Rotorua police area commander Inspector Phillip Taikato said in a statement police were alerted to a burglary at a residential address in Sunnybrook, Rotorua, during which a vehicle was stolen.
Taikato said a vehicle was seen by police a short time later and the driver continued on before any action could be taken.
He said police then signalled to the driver to stop but they failed to do so.
Taikato said the vehicle was involved in a collision with two vehicles at the intersection of Malfroy Rd and Fenton St and the vehicle they were seeking rolled.
Three members of the public allegedly received moderate to minor injuries in the crash.
Two other cars were allegedly damaged near the intersection of Malfroy Rd and one of them was a Watchdog Security vehicle. Police with dogs were at the scene.
A St John spokeswoman said one person with moderate injuries and two with minor injuries had been taken to Rotorua Hospital.
Fenton St was down to a single lane on each side of the crash while emergency services worked to clear the damaged cars.
The partner of a Watchdog Security officer allegedly hurt in the crash said he contacted her to let her know he had been in a crash.
"He told me, 'I've got a bit of a bang on my head but it's okay, don't rush.'"
The woman said she was at home studying but got in her car and came to the scene.
"When I came down Malfroy Rd and saw a car on its roof I started panicking."
She said she saw her partner's crashed security car and ran towards it.
"But he wasn't inside he was being looked after by the ambulance."
She said her partner had been taken to the hospital because his head was bleeding and to get a check-up.
A worker opposite the crash said he heard an "almighty bang" and rushed out to see if anyone needed help.
Oppies owner Michael Wuang said he was talking to his daughter on the phone inside his premises when he heard a huge bang.
Wuang said it was amazing no one was seriously hurt.
"Oh my god this is crazy," Wuang said as he stood outside his takeaway business looking at the crash scene.
A Grey St resident, who didn't want to be named, said she saw a police car "flying past her house" just before the crash happened
"Then I heard the crash from my house and came down to have a look ... mainly to check that everyone was okay."
A man, who didn't want to be named, said he and his daughter were shopping at Countdown when about eight police officers rushed inside the supermarket.
"They swarmed the aisles and went down every single one of them obviously looking for them.
"There were five cop cars and a police dog outside and then they all came in and just swarmed the aisles. It felt out of it ... It was crazy I was just getting the veges and my daughter goes 'look at this'," he said.
An elderly man said he was on his daily walk from Seddon St to Victoria and up Malfroy Rd when he saw "cop cars going flat out".
"I thought to myself I'll come up and have a nosey". It's quite good I've been out now for an hour and a half and I'm usually only gone half an hour. I might as well, I've got nothing else to do."
A man who lived in one of the nearby motels took advantage of the crowds gathered on the footpaths and got out his guitar and sang some songs. He put his hat on the grass and was asking those nearby for tips.
Motorist Viv Radley told the Rotorua Daily Post that shortly before the crash she saw a car heading towards Marguerita St.
"Myself and another car coming towards the Ti St right-hand turn had to both move quickly to the side to let it through and a number of police cars were in pursuit."
Radley said they were in Countdown when police came in, and when they left Countdown and headed along Fenton St again they saw there had been an accident.
The police statement said two people would appear in the Rotorua District Court on charges of aggravated failing to stop, reckless driving causing injury and failing to stop and ascertain injury.
The Serious Crash Unit has been notified and an investigation is underway.
Police encourage anyone who witnessed any part of this incident to contact police on 105 and quote event number P045679446.