15 Feb 2019

Driver dies in police chase after crashing into truck

3:07 pm on 15 February 2019

A fleeing driver has died after a police chase in Hawke's Bay when his car collided with an oncoming truck.

A police car at a cordon.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Police began pursuing the man on State Highway 5 at Eskdale, north of Napier, about 9.40pm yesterday, after he failed to stop when signalled and due to the manner of his driving.

Officers had been searching for the man for much of the day due to other concerns.

Shortly after the pursuit began, the man's Mitsubishi station wagon crossed the centre line and crashed into a truck, and he died at the scene.

Police Association president Chris Cahill said it was a tragic situation for all involved.

Police officers had just signalled their intention to chase when the driver crashed, Mr Cahill said.

"Is it really a pursuit or is it actually an officer signalling a vehicle to stop?" he said.

"My understanding is this officer had had no opportunity to go through the process of deciding if they were engaging in a pursuit."

Police have extended sympathies to the man's family and friends and say the circumstances of the pursuit will be thoroughly investigated.

The truck driver was not injured.

Police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority will be investigating the pursuit.