Car in pursuit crash had false plates

Emergency services at the scene of a car crash yesterday near Clarks Junction on State Highway 87. The sole occupant received a serious head injury. Photo by Craig Baxter.Police are investigating why a vehicle involved in a high-speed police chase on the Strath Taieri yesterday had false licence plates.

The 16-year-old unlicensed driver is in Dunedin Hospital with a serious head injury after the Toyota Rav 4 crashed and rolled three times while fleeing police at Clarks Junction.

The crash happened on a bend on State Highway 87 about 10.45am yesterday.

Southern District Command Centre deployment co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Matt Scoles said the Dunedin teen was the sole occupant of the Toyota Rav 4, which had been reported stolen.

A police car pursued it after clocking it travelling towards Middlemarch ''well in excess of the 100kmh speed limit''.

Snr Sgt Scoles said the officer attempted unsuccessfully to stop the vehicle.

Police gave chase for about four minutes, and the vehicle reached speeds of up to 140kmh before failing to take a corner and rolling three times.

The driver was found unconscious and flown to Dunedin Hospital by the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter with a serious head injury.

''Initial indications are that the pursuit was conducted in accordance with police policy,'' Snr Sgt Scoles said.

Police serious crash investigators attended the scene yesterday.

The youth remained in a serious condition last night, but his injuries were not life-threatening, Snr Sgt Scoles said.

Farmer Jim McDonald, owner of nearby Mt Gowrie Station, went to the scene when he heard the helicopter fly in.

He had attended several bad crashes at the 70kmh corner, mainly involving drivers who did not know the road.

The corner could not be negotiated at more than 100kmh, even by experienced drivers familiar with the unusual camber, he said.

''This was just inexperience and speed.''

The crash could have been worse, as Mr McDonald had been moving a flock of sheep up the same stretch of road only 10 minutes before.

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