Sheepish end to 90-minute chase


It took mob justice to stop a carload of people leading police on a high-speed 80km, 90-minute chase across Otago yesterday.

Multiple police patrol cars could not stop the black Honda Integra as it raced away from Alexandra, past Cromwell, through the Kawarau Gorge and on past Arrowtown. Road spikes did not deter the driver.

On one bare rim, the Honda continued in and out of private properties, reaching speeds of 140kmh until a uniquely rural road block stopped it in its tracks in Littles Rd, near Arthurs Point.

Farm manager Roy Webb says he was moving 600 ewes and lambs (owned, ironically, by police officer Julian Cahill) along the road at 9.30am when the sound of sirens alerted him to a fast-approaching pursuit.

As the Honda approached, he saw a tyre was missing and the car was running on the rim with smoke coming out.

“I was yelling at him: ‘Slow down you dopey bugger’.”

The car had no choice but to stop and its occupants, two men aged 19 and 23, and a boy and girl both 14, were arrested.

Luckily, Mr Webb’s dogs, Ken, Jill and Brock, as well as his stock, were “good as gold”, he says.

Simon Berendt, a witness to the arrests, said he was amused a mob of sheep could do what seven patrol cars could not. He said one of the men arrested was “screaming like a 12-year-old girl”.

Police said the chase began when the car was seen allegedly speeding and without registration plates in Alexandra at 7.55am.

Several times police laid spikes on roads, including successfully on the Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Rd.

Senior sergeant James Ure, of Dunedin, said the vehicle was also driven “in and out of private properties”.

The two older men have been charged with reckless driving, failing to stop for flashing lights, three thefts in relation to petrol drive-offs, and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.

The two 14-year-olds have been charged with three thefts in relation to petrol drive-offs and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.

Senior sergeant Paula Enoka, of Queenstown, described the driving as “reckless” and says the occupants placed themselves, and a large number of other motorists, in danger.