‘Bit of an adventure’: Police stop sees car taken by fugitive

When Wyndham man Graham Robinson caught sight of flashing red and blue lights in his rearview mirror he did what most motorists do — he pulled over.

This was no routine police stop.

Mr Robinson’s red BMW M Sport was about to become the centre of a large-scale police chase across much of Otago on Saturday night.

The chase had begun several hours earlier when a 38-year-old man was pursued by police from near the Lindis Pass to Cromwell. When he stopped he allegedly presented a gun at a police officer and stole his patrol car.

Mr Robinson’s car would be next.

Mr Robinson said he was on his way home from Cromwell when he noticed an unusually high number of police vehicles on the road.

"There were police cars in all directions. I knew something was going on."

The reason was about to become clear, when a police car closed in on his vehicle near Shingle Creek on State Highway 8 between Alexandra and Roxburgh.

"He had the lights going so I pulled over.

"I wound my window down and expected him to come and talk to me but he didn’t, he just yelled ‘get out of the car’, so I got out of the car."

Mr Robinson said he thought he must have become a suspect in whatever had caused so many police to be on the roads.

The man ordered him to stand beside the left front guard.

"Then he got out of the car and I knew he wasn’t a police officer and he said ‘I’m going to take your car’."

That did not go smoothly, Mr Robinson said.

"Then he called me over and asked me how to start it and if it was petrol or diesel. I said it was diesel and then he just took off and that was the last I saw of my red BMW.

"It was all a bit surreal, but he wasn’t aggressive or anything."

Mr Robinson said he was left standing with the police car when another officer arrived. He told the officer what had happened.

The officer told him to wait in the car and left in pursuit of Mr Robinson’s vehicle.

The police car was out of fuel, he said.

"It was still running and the fuel light was on."

Mr Robinson said the tale took another twist when an "angry farmer" arrived and told him to get out of the car.

"I told him that was the second time I had been told that tonight."

Mr Robinson said the farmer told him the man had been at his farm looking for petrol and he had told the farmer’s children he had a broken leg.

With his journey home interrupted, police took a statement from him and took him back to Cromwell.

"It was a bit of an adventure."

Meanwhile, his car’s journey continued for another two hours before being ended by road spikes near Milton.

Yesterday he was unsure what condition his car was in.

"They tell me it’s a bit grubby and it has two very flat front tyres."

jared.morgan@odt.co.nz

 

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