A man is dead and two women are in hospital after a car fleeing police crashed into a tree in South Auckland this morning.
Counties Manukau Inspector Dave Simpson confirmed police were trying to stop a stolen vehicle on Bairds Rd, Otara just before 6am when it fled from police and crashed into a tree about four minutes later.
The male driver died at the scene and two female passengers were taken to hospital, one in a serious condition and the other with moderate injuries.
Three fire engines and multiple police cars surround the site of the crash. (Photo / Brett Phibbs)
The accident will now be referred to the Independent Police Conduct Authority. Simpson said police were also conducting its own investigation.
Simpson said the road remained closed and was not expected to reopen until later in the morning. Diversions were in place and motorists were asked to avoid the area if possible.
"Fleeing driver incidents are incredibly tragic for all of those involved including our staff, it is the last thing our officers go to work for."
The officers involved in the crash were being provided with welfare and supported by their colleagues.
He said it demonstrated the tragic consequences which could happen if a driver chose not to stop for police.
Police and firefighters had responded to reports that three people were trapped in the car.
Groups of residents were standing on either side of the road looking on at the activity.
Bairds Rd resident Alapati Scanlan said he was walking his partner to the bus stop when he saw a vehicle being chased by police.
He said a police car was following close behind the fast moving fleeing vehicle when it hit the curb and drove into a tree.
Part of a blue sedan, what appears to be a bonnet or bumper, can be seen crumpled on the side walk. (Photo / Brett Phibbs)
He said he was scared and shocked at seeing the incident but didn't approach the vehicle to help because police wouldn't allow him to.
He said the vehicles were driving south along Bairds Rd, driving away from Otara Town Centre.
Part of a blue sedan, what appears to be a bonnet or bumper, can be seen crumpled on the side walk.
The car can be seen mounted on the sidewalk, positioned behind a fallen tree. Both the car and tree are completely obstructing the sidewalk.
The rear of the blue sedan appears to be slightly elevated off the side walk. The roof has been removed.
Bairds Rd is expected to remain closed for some time between the intersections of Clayton Ave and Everitt Rd.
It's been a grim 24 hours on the country's roads with three horror crashes claiming five lives and leaving another victim fighting for their life.
In the deadliest accident three people were killed when two cars crashed north of Winton in Southland last night.
State Highway 6 was left closed most of the night while the Serious Crash Unit investigated the cause of the collision.
Earlier in the afternoon two people died in a two-car crash north of Te Kuiti and two others were taken to hospital.
Later in the afternoon a person was trapped in a three-car smash in Warkworth.
The injured motorist was flown to hospital in a rescue helicopter in a critical condition and others were treated by ambulance at the scene.
And just before 6am a motorcyclist was injured in a serious crash in Motueka.