Driver fleeing police dies after hitting tree

Photo: RNZ
File photo: RNZ
A driver fleeing police is dead and their passenger critically injured after their vehicle crashed into a tree.

Police said the crash happened on Lambie Drive, Papatoetoe, late on Monday night.

The vehicle was first spotted at 11.40pm on Davies Ave. Police signalled for the driver to pull over because the car allegedly had stolen number plates.

"The vehicle initially stopped for [olice for a short time where attending officers spoke to the driver. However, the vehicle did not remain, and left the area at speed," Inspector Alison Brand said in a statement.

"Lights were activated and police were preparing to deploy spikes. However the vehicle swerved and crashed into a tree."

Despite efforts from emergency services, the driver died at the scene.

A passenger was critically hurt and taken to hospital.

Police said "several" investigations were under way, and the Independent Police Conduct Authority had been notified.

Lambie Drive, which has several large trees on traffic islands, has since reopened.