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The Northland Age - - Local News -

Fire in­ves­ti­ga­tors have been un­able to de­ter­mine whether the veg­e­ta­tion fire at Taipa Point on New Year’s Day was lit ac­ci­den­tally or de­lib­er­ately, Prin­ci­pal Ru­ral Fire Of­fi­cer Myles Tay­lor say­ing yes­ter­day that he doubted they ever would. The fire had started ad­ja­cent to a walk­ing track, and might have been started ac­ci­den­tally, for ex­am­ple by a dis­carded cig­a­rette, or de­lib­er­ately, but prov­ing one or the other would be near im­pos­si­ble, he said. Emer­gency ser­vices at the scene of Satur­day’s crash at Kain­garoa. The ute, from which a small dog was ejected, is on the left.

A po­lice pur­suit that be­gan at Awanui on Satur­day ended with a two-car crash on SH10 at Kain­garoa.

Act­ing North­land Dis­trict Com­man­der In­spec­tor Rikki Whiu said of­fi­cers on a rou­tine pa­trol at­tempted to stop a ve­hi­cle at around 5.30pm. The driver stopped, but then drove off be­fore the of­fi­cers could speak with her.

The car was pur­sued for about 7km be­fore the driver lost con­trol while de­scend­ing the hill west of the Dun­can Rd in­ter­sec­tion, the car cross­ing the cen­tre line and crash­ing into a steel bar­rier, then ca­reer­ing into the path of an on­com­ing ve­hi­cle.

A 35-year-old Kaitaia woman was ar­rested and charged with fail­ing to stop. She was also found to have been breach­ing her bail con­di­tions, and failed a road­side breath screen­ing test. She was taken to Kaitaia Hos­pi­tal for a med­i­cal check, and to have blood taken for al­co­hol anal­y­sis.

Her two fe­male pas­sen­gers, aged 27 and 28, also from Kaitaia,

suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries. One was taken to Kaitaia Hos­pi­tal by am­bu­lance, and was later trans­ferred to Whanga¯rei with head in­juries and bro­ken bones. The other was flown to Auck­land Hos­pi­tal by he­li­copter with se­ri­ous head in­juries.

Two peo­ple in the on­com­ing ve­hi­cle, a small ute, which rolled be­fore com­ing to a halt in the drain on the other side of the high­way, re­ceived med­i­cal at­ten­tion for mi­nor in­juries. Se­nior Sergeant Rus­sell Richards said they were re­ceiv­ing vic­tim sup­port.

State High­way 10 was closed be­tween Church and

Dun­can roads for more than four hours while the Se­ri­ous Crash Unit car­ried out a scene ex­am­i­na­tion, re­open­ing around 10pm.

Mr Whiu said a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent had be­gun, and the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice Con­duct Au­thor­ity would be no­ti­fied.

Nearby res­i­dent Kaye Drag­ice­vich said the driver of the pur­sued car had tried to climb over the guard rail, but had been ap­pre­hended by the po­lice. Her two pas­sen­gers were ly­ing on the road.

Two am­bu­lances, and later two res­cue he­li­copters, re­sponded. There was no sign of a small dog that had been in the ute, how­ever. Mrs Drag­ice­vich said the jack rus­sell ter­rier had “scarpered”. A boy who had been in a car that ar­rived soon af­ter the po­lice try­ing to help find her, without suc­cess.

The dog, which was cap­tured on a ve­hi­cle’s dash cam be­ing ejected from the rear win­dow, land­ing on its feet and run­ning off, was later seen at nearby cat­tle yards, where its own­ers left some toys and a hat. Mrs Drag­ice­vich said she had tried to catch her but could not get close.

“We left food there, and it has re­turned, but we can’t get near it,” she said on Sun­day.

“I con­tacted the po­lice but just got Auck­land, and so far our de­tails don’t ap­pear to have been handed on to the truck own­ers.”

Mean­while, Mr Whiu urged driv­ers who were asked by po­lice to pull over to stop.

“Flee­ing po­lice can re­sult in se­ri­ous in­jury or death, which we are try­ing to avoid. The risk of not stop­ping is not worth your safety, your pas­sen­gers’ safety, or that of other road users,” he said.

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