One person has died and another is in critical condition after a car crash in Bay of Plenty overnight, minutes after police gave up on a high speed pursuit of the deceased's vehicle.
Bay of Plenty Road Policing Manager Inspector Brent Crowe says a pursuit was initiated around 11pm last night after a Mazda Familia failed to stop for police in Whakatane.
"Within one minute, officers in pursuit determined the vehicle’s excessive speed posed too great a risk to its occupants and the public and abandoned the pursuit," Inspector Crowe said in a statement.
"Approximately four minutes later Police located the vehicle on Taneatua Road, about 6.5km south of the point of abandonment."
Inspector Crowe said initial enquiries indicate the vehicle lost control on a sweeping righthand bend, left the road at speed, become airborne and struck a large tree.
The 27-year-old driver died at the scene but a second person, the back seat passenger, has been taken to Waikato Hospital with critical injuries.
Inspector Crowe said the Serious Crash Unit was called in before the Taneatua Road was reopened at 3:30am this morning.
"While Police were not pursuing the vehicle when it crashed, the circumstances surrounding both the pursuit and the crash will be thoroughly investigated and the Independent Police Conduct Authority notified."
A third passenger, who was in the front seat, sustained minor injuries.