Motorists feared for their lives and one was seriously
injured as two alleged bank robbers yesterday fled police and
ploughed through lunchtime traffic on a busy Auckland
After the Pukekohe robbery two men were seen laughing as they
hurtled around a Drury roundabout in a stolen BMW convertible
followed closely by police. They then sped up the Southern
Motorway, ploughing into a ute and leaving the driver, 57,
with serious neck injuries.
Other motorists were forced to take evasive action to avoid
being hit by the men, including a woman on her way to the
Her husband-to-be told her story: "She saw a vehicle being
chased by about 11 patrol cars, when the vehicle lost control
and flipped on the motorway barrier and came hurtling towards
"At this point she has literally closed her eyes and put her
foot down ... She looked behind her and it hit a car behind
her. It could've been very tragic."
The drama began at 11.57am when two partially disguised men
entered the Pukekohe Westpac.
They were allegedly armed with a hammer and threatened staff
in front of customers.
Up to 12 people, including staff, were inside the bank.
The men fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.
A member of the public chased them on foot and managed to
tackle one man nearby, but he escaped and the pair were seen
driving away in the stolen BMW.
A staff member of a neighbouring business to the bank said
she understood a car driver tried to cut off the BMW as the
robbers were fleeing while others tried to jump on the
The ute was severely damaged after being hit by the getaway
vehicle. Photo / Richard Robinson Police spotted the BMW in
central Drury, 15km away, following it around the roundabout
at the intersection of Norrie Rd and Great South Rd twice.
Kevin Horne, who works at Premier Aluminium Joinery Limited
near the roundabout, saw the high-speed convoy.
"The chase came through Drury with four cops ... The cops had
lights on and sirens blaring," he said.
"What amazed us was that the BMW didn't hit anything going
around the roundabout. The two occupants were laughing as
they went past ... " The BMW then sped back towards the
motorway, entering the northbound lane at Drury.
"The offending vehicle has then crashed into the rear of a
Ford ute, driven by a member of the public, near the Papakura
interchange. This collision has caused the BMW to flip and
roll across the motorway," Superintendent John Tims said.
Mr Tims said the driver and passenger of the fleeing car were
apprehended at the scene.
"An inspection of their car produced a weapon matching the
description of the one used in the bank robbery, as well as
the stolen cash."
The men, aged 25 and 32, suffered serious injuries.
All three, including the ute driver, remained in Middlemore
Hospital last night.
Vanessa Hamlin saw police arrest one of the men.
"Police cuffed him, they led him across the road beside the
crashed car," she said.
"The debris was on both sides of the motorway. It was pretty
bad. The car was just munted."
- Mathew Dearnaley and Anna Leask of the New Zealand