Eight people were taken to hospital after a man allegedly in a stolen car crashed into another vehicle containing six people near where a police patrol had stopped to speak to a cyclist.
Whangarei police were late yesterday waiting to speak to the alleged driver of the stolen car who was in hospital after the crash in Western Hills Dr, Whangarei, on Saturday night.
Sergeant John Larkin said eight people were taken to hospital after the head-on crash, which happened at speed after the driver of the alleged stolen car crossed to the other side of the road to avoid a police patrol car.
It was fortunate nobody died in the crash.
Mr Larkin said a car stolen in Whangarei earlier on Saturday evening was travelling south along Western Hills Dr at 11.40pm on Saturday at speed towards Manse St when the driver spotted a police patrol car that had pulled over a cyclist.
Mr Larkin said the stolen vehicle swerved around the patrol car, went across the centreline and started heading south in the northbound lane.
Just as the car reached the intersection of Western Hills Dr and Manse St a northbound vehicle, containing six people, came around a corner towards the stolen car, which was in the wrong lane.
Mr Larkin said both drivers tried to avoid each other but collided head-on, leaving both vehicles with extensive damage.
Eight people - six from the northbound vehicle and two from the other - were taken to Whangarei Hospital.
A passenger in the stolen vehicle had serious leg injuries and was understood to have undergone surgery yesterday.
The status of the others taken to hospital was not known at edition time, though none was believed to have been badly injured.
The alleged driver of the stolen vehicle, from Northland, was initially charged with seven counts of reckless driving causing injury, driving with excess breath-alcohol and getting into a stolen vehicle.
Further charges may be laid after police have interviewed him again and he will appear in Whangarei District Court once he is well enough.
Anybody who witnessed the crash or who may have seen the alleged stolen car beforehand is asked to ring police on 4304500.