Police say two of their officers had to flee after a man rammed their patrol car and pursued them for several kilometres.
Police car (File picture).
Source: 1 NEWS
The incident took place overnight Wednesday in Taupo, police said, when two officers responded to reports of a stolen Isuzu SUV.
When they approached the vehicle, they turned on their lights and sirens, and the driver initially pulled over for them.
However, police say the driver then drove up onto the curb, onto the grass where he began to do donuts. He then intentionally rammed the large SUV at speed directly into the front of the patrol car.
The patrol car was badly damaged, police say, and the two officers attempted to flee the scene and wait for backup.
The driver of the stolen car then began following the now-limping patrol car.
"This lasted a few kilometres when thankfully another Police patrol engaged the stolen vehicle, causing it to flee towards Wharewaka, where the vehicle was lost," police said in a statement.
Police said prolonged efforts were made to find the vehicle, but they were unable to until yesterday morning, when they found the SUV down a bank.
After further investigation, police were able to find a 40-year-old Auckland man hiding out at a Taupo motel, and he was arrested.
Police say the man will appear at Rotorua District Court today charged with assault with a weapon, unlawful taking, theft of a car and reckless driving.
Taupo Area Commander Inspector Warwick Morehu praised the two "young" officers involved for the way they handled the situation, saying they were shaken by the incident but had fronted up for work again without delay.
Repairs to the patrol car will cost "several thousand dollars".