This could be one of the country’s slowest and most frustrating car chases.
The pursuit stretched 65km in a loop, lasted an hour and a half and rarely went above 50kmh on 100kmh highways.
It was one of five pursuits that kept police in Hamilton busy between midnight on Tuesday and 4am Wednesday.
Two people – a 31-year-old woman and 39-year-old man – have been arrested while the other three drivers remain outstanding, Waikato police Senior Sergeant Ray Malcolmson said.
One of the slowest pursuits Malcolmson has ever encountered began around 2.36am near Cambridge.
“There was no excess speed,” Malcolmson said, “he was doing about 30km in a 50km [zone]. He continued along Maungatautari Rd, getting up to 50kmh and slowing down for corners but wouldn’t stop.”
At Horohoro Bridge the fleeing car went over police spikes, blowing two front tyres.
Despite the blowout, Malcolmson said the driver continued along State Highway 1 back towards Cambridge, driving at his usual slow pace.
He drove around Cambridge for awhile before he finally came to a stop at 4am – the vehicle now on the wheel rims.
The 39-year-old man was arrested and charged with failing to stop and drink driving offences. He was taken back to Hamilton Central police cells and would appear in Hamilton District Court on Wednesday.
Malcomson said police followed at a slow pace the entire pursuit, and although there is the option to use tactics in some cases, they are chosen only when safe to do so.
“People put others at risk when they flee, and usually for reasons that in hindsight are not justified.”
He said the pursuit made for interesting commentary on the police radio.
The first pursuit of the night began at 12.07am at the northern end of Te Rapa straight, near The Base.
Malcolmson said a woman failed to stop when police blasted their red and blue lights.
After a short pursuit down Te Rapa Rd the woman finally stopped the car where she was found to be in possession of a “reasonable quantity” of methamphetamine.
The woman was arrested and charged with failing to stop and possession for supply. Another man was also in the vehicle but was not detained, Malcolmson said.
About 15 minutes later Malcolmson said a police patrol spotted a Subaru stopped at a green light on Liverpool St.
“The driver took off at a great rate of knots and that pursuit was abandoned due to the speed.”
The Subaru was last seen boosting down Ulster St.
Another 30 minutes later and police tried to stop a motorcyclist on Thomas Rd in Rototuna.
But there was no stopping this rider, Malcolmson said.
“He took off at an excessive speed and went through a red light, so the pursuit was abandoned.”
Last sighting of this speedster was on River Rd near Wairere Dr, he said.
There was also a fifth pursuit but Malcolmson had no details on this one.