11 Feb 2016

Pursuit crash driver banned, police say

5:55 pm on 11 February 2016

A driver who crashed during a police pursuit in West Auckland this morning is a banned driver who was in breach of his bail conditions, police say.

The car ended up on its roof after the crash.

The car ended up on its roof after the crash. Photo: SUPPLIED / Mark Green

A five-month-baby was found lying next to the car after it rolled on to its roof outside the Coopers Creek winery near Kumeu this morning.

The baby was airlifted to hospital with its mother, who was a passenger in the car and received minor injuries.

Inspector Mark Fergus said before the pursuit began, the police had clocked the driver at more than 120kmh.

He said the 22-year old then reached speeds of up to 150kmh during the five-minute pursuit, which started when officers attempted to stop the driver for travelling at excessive speed, Mr Fergus said.

The driver failed to stop, accelerated away from police and lost control of the car, which then rolled.

"As police officers went to render assistance to the driver and passenger, they found lying next to the car a five-month-old baby.

"So we immediately rendered assistance to the baby, moving it to safety and conducting first aid.

"The driver has put himself, the baby and other innocent members of the public at risk by driving in such a manner.

The baby's injuries were not life-threatening but it was under observation in hospital. It was not clear whether the driver, who was moderately injured, was related to the baby or its mother.

"This is a man who before police became involved was already driving well in excess of the speed limit, putting the baby at risk," Mr Fergus said.

"Once the police came to conduct enforcement actions, yeah, he was going to be in trouble for some stuff. But did it mean that he needed to put that five-month-old baby at risk, and other members of the public."

Officers constantly conducted risk assessments during the pursuit, Mr Fergus said.

"We assess the risk to the members of the public as the fleeing driver continues.

"The pursuing officers felt that there wasn't significant risk to the public that they should immediately abandon."

'Holy hell'

Nearby resident Belinda Harrold said she heard sirens, then heard and felt the impact of a big crash.

"When I heard it I thought 'holy hell, someone's been hit head on' - the impact was just so loud," she said.

"It just shook the ground right through to our house."

Ms Harrold said a lot of crashes happened on the area of SH16 where the pursuit ended.

Mark Green, who was driving by the scene of the crash, said he saw police arresting a man, a woman crying by the side of the road, and a baby's pram next to the rolled car.

"I saw the police basically just manhandle someone ... a bit of a struggle, getting him to his hands and knees and handcuffing him," he said.

"You could see the pram on the (ground). There was a lady crying, pretty much wailing."

The police must have been in pursuit because they were at the site of the crash so quickly, Mr Green said.

On social media, another person who said they lived in the area wrote that they watched the car race past their place, and then about 10 seconds later two cars chased behind.

The driver is facing a number of charges and is under police guard.

The scene of the crash on SH16.

Photo: SUPPLIED / Paige Parker