Police officer injured after being hit by fleeing driver in Whakatane
A police officer has serious leg injuries after being hit by a car during a pursuit in the Bay of Plenty, police say.
Eastern Bay of Plenty police area commander Kevin Taylor said the constable had been flown to Waikato Hospital.
Taylor said the constable was laying road spikes at the intersection of SH30 and Kope Drain Rd in Awakeri, near Whakatane, when he was struck by a fleeing driver.
Police said they had been looking for the car in relation to an alleged petrol drive-off but say the driver failed to stop as instructed.Advertisement Advertise with NZME.
The car was found a short time after the officer was hit.
Taylor said investigators were speaking to a 26-year-old man about the incident.
The 26-year-old is now due to appear in Opotiki District Court tomorrow, charged with theft, failing to stop, and dangerous driving.
Other charges are likely to be laid at a later stage.
He thanked the public for their assistance, said the Serious Crash Unit was investigating and local police would be supporting the injured officer and his family.
Police shut down the main highway and warned drivers not to pick up hitch-hikers in the area.
SH30 at the Tauranga turn-off was blocked off for a period.
Police cars were seen and heard speeding along the highway.
A Whakatane man who works on SH30 said he saw an ambulance and quite a few police cars "flying past at a great rate of knots" towards Awakeri.
A Te Rahu Rd resident also saw police cars driving at speed down Station Rd soon after 9am.Source: Google News