A high-speed chase ended with a crash and two people in custody, but no injuries. PHOTO/MARCUS ANSELM

MARCUS ANSELM
marcus.anselm@age.co.nz

A high-speed chase after a wanted couple ended with their car crashing into a police car and a ute outside a Masterton playcentre just after 1pm on Thursday.

The chase went through residential areas coming to a halt on Ngaumutawa Rd.

The man and woman, both from Palmerston North, were taken into custody.

The pair were wanted by Manawatu police for several crimes.

The car matched the description of one involved in a pursuit and an assault and possible abduction in Manawatu earlier this week but had different plates.

They were finally caught after their getaway car hit a ute on Ngaumutawa Rd, outside Westside Playcentre, as they attempted to escape.

It also struck a police car.

The driver, a 40-year-old woman from Palmerston North, was being sought by police in that city regarding a burglary.

The passenger, a 34-year-old man also from Palmerston North, was wanted on theft charges.

Police Senior Sergeant Jen Hansen said another police officer approached the drivers in the car park of Masterton’s Warehouse store on Chapel St.

The couple drove off, and then led a chase around residential Masterton streets, hitting high speeds in built-up areas.

It also crossed the centre line into the path of oncoming traffic.

Police were preparing to lay spikes on the road and set up safety measures just as the pursuit came to an end when the car crashed.

“The vehicle began to deteriorate quite significantly, and then came to a stop and collided into the rear of a police patrol car, not causing significant damage, but obviously that vehicle itself is the worst off,” Hansen said.

She was relieved that no one had been hurt.

“We understand that members of the public will have been concerned, as we were, with this person’s manner of driving.

“It couldn’t have been allowed to continue given that these two occupants have been involved in incidents in the last few days. It was a priority for us to stop them and get them into custody.

“Now we know they were wanted for other matters, even more so.”

Hansen said the car’s number plates had been changed, which was just one of “a whole lot of factors which meant this vehicle was causing us huge concern”.

“Unfortunately, that driver has continued with that behaviour and we’re very fortunate that no one has been injured.

“It will have been concerning for members of the public who saw that driving. The speed was certainly over the posted speed limit during the pursuit.”

The pair are being held in custody and are likely to face numerous charges.