High-speed chases stalled

The three occupants of a vehicle which featured in three high-speed pursuits during the weekend were only caught because the car's engine failed, Wanaka police say.

The car, an older style Mitsubishi, reached speeds of about 160kmh as it was chased over the Crown Range between Queenstown and Wanaka and then to Queensberry yesterday morning.

Constable Greg Nolet said three pursuits were abandoned because of high speeds and the way the car was being driven.

"They were exceeding 150kmh-160kmh at times, and cutting corners," he said.

Const Nolet said the chase started in Queenstown about 3.45am and lasted about an hour.

The driver was first noticed by Queenstown police, but did not stop. This sparked a pursuit, which was abandoned for safety reasons. Wanaka and Cromwell police were called for backup.

A Wanaka police officer intercepted the vehicle on the Crown Range but the driver failed to stop for a second time, initiating another pursuit that was again abandoned for safety reasons.

Soon afterwards, a Cromwell police officer saw the vehicle travelling south on State Highway 6 and a third pursuit was initiated.

The vehicle stopped in the Queensberry area when its engine failed.

The three occupants will appear in the Queenstown District Court today.

The 18-year-old driver has been charged with unlawfully taking the vehicle from Queenstown, failing to stop, driving with an excess breath-alcohol and reckless driving.

His two passengers, aged 18 and 17, have been charged with unlawfully getting into a vehicle, aiding a person to drive under the influence of drink and aiding a person to drive in a dangerous manner.



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