Baby injured in crash as mother fled police in NZ
POLICE say they had no idea a 5-month-old baby girl was in a car being driven by a disqualified driver that crashed after speeding up to 150km/h in a police pursuit.
Inspector Mark Fergus says the incident began when a police patrol clocked the car being driven at 124 kilometres an hour near Waimauku.
The driver initially pulled over for police, but then sped off as officers approached.
Police followed the car for five minutes, with the fleeing driver hitting speeds of up to 150 kilometres an hour before it crashed and rolled onto its roof in Kumeu.
As police officers went to render first aid to the driver and a female passenger, they found a five-month-old baby lying next to the car.
Inspector Fergus says they immediately moved the baby to safety and rendered first aid.
The baby and its mother are now in hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
Inspector Fergus says the 22-year-old driver was found to be a disqualified driver and was breaching bail conditions.
At 2.30pm, a hospital spokeswoman said the baby remained in a stable condition.
The two adults injured in the car were also in a stable condition, she said.
Police confirmed the male driver of the car, who has been arrested and is under police guard in Auckland City Hospital, was fleeing police when the crash occurred outside Cooper's Creek Winery.
He has moderate injuries, and a woman sitting in the front seat has also been taken to Auckland City Hospital with moderate to minor injuries.
The pursuit began when police attempted to stop the vehicle, according to the statement.
"[It was being stopped] for driving at excessive speed. The driver failed to stop and was accelerating away from police when the driver has lost control and the car rolled."
No other vehicles or people were involved, police said.
A photo of the car posted on the Waimauku Facebook page showed it lying upside down and with what looked like a pram next to it.
Elaine Chamberlain walked past the crash and saw 200 metre long skid marks diagonally across the road.
The car was "completely destroyed", she said.
"Its windows are gone and doors are smashed in."
Police closed SH16 between Huapai and Waimauku but the road has since been reopened.
Police would not say more until Inspector Mark Fergus holds a press conference at 3.30pm today.
A large number of emergency services' staff also attended the crash, including six St John ambulances and firefighters.
A witness told Newstalk ZB people were being arrested and a nearby resident described watching a police car "racing in one direction" just before the crash and, afterwards, a number of other police cars come from the opposite direction.
He didn't hear the crash, only a yell immediately after.
"It sounded like a police officer."
The man, who did not want to be named, described the scene after the crash as "full on".
"We saw the police Eagle helicopter and the Westpac Rescue helicopter. There was heaps of police cars, half a dozen ... and the rural fire guys were there."
Horror crash survivor Pauline Bradley also saw the crash scene, and said it brought back memories of the head-on smash nearby that almost took her life just before Christmas.
"It all came flooding back," said the mother-of-three.
"I definitely had to pull over, I shed a few tears watching the Westpac Rescue Helicopter fly off, thinking it was me not that long ago."
Plans to go to rehab this afternoon were put on hold after she was left too upset to drive. She has only been back behind the wheel for just over a week.
"I did have an appointment today but I've said to hubby I can't go back down SH16 again after that because it's shaken me up."
She said she was concerned at the weekly crash toll on the notorious stretch of highway.