7 May 2018

Car that crashed during fatal pursuit had stolen plates

1:16 pm on 7 May 2018

The car involved in a fatal chase in New Plymouth overnight was unregistered and had stolen number plates on it, say police.

A police car outside a cordon in South Auckland

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

The BMW hatchback drove past a police dog patrol vehicle on Junction Street at high speed shortly after 12.30am this morning.

Superintendent Sue Schwalger said when the driver failed to stop, the pursuit began.

It was called off a few minutes later when the car halted suddenly and reversed, hitting the police car. Police said they couldn't say whether this was intentional or not.

Officers found the vehicle a couple of minutes later on nearby Tarahua Road, where it had hit a power pole.

Power lines were brought down and, when police were able to approach the car, they found the driver was found dead.

Superintendent Schwalger said road conditions at the time were wet and greasy.

"The licence plates attached to the BMW had been stolen from a vehicle in Napier yesterday.

"The BMW at this stage does not appear to have been registered," she said.

Superintendent Schwalger said the police are in the process of notifying the next of kin.

The serious crash unit and an internal police investigation is ongoing. The Independent Police Conduct Authority has also been notified.

She said the last thing any police officer wants is for an incident to end in a fatality.

"Fleeing driver events represent only a very small proportion of vehicle stops conducted by police every year, approximately 0.1 percent.

"However, sadly, some of these do end in tragedy," she said.