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Officer Injured Trying To Stop Fleeing Driver

Waikato District Commander Superintendent Bruce Bird:

An 18-year-old has been arrested and an officer treated for injuries after a serious incident in Waikato overnight.

At 9.35pm on Norton Road, Police stopped a vehicle wanted in relation to a fleeing driver incident in Rotorua. While Police organised for the vehicle to be towed, one of the occupants went back to the car. As an officer opened the front passenger’s door to intervene, the vehicle began moving.

Initial enquiries established the officer realised he was at risk of being run over or pinned as the car moved and made the split-second decision to get in the vehicle, which then hit a stationary patrol car before fleeing the scene.

Still inside the offending car, the officer used tactical options, including a Taser, in an attempt to get the driver to stop, while allegedly receiving multiple blows to the head from the driver.

The car lost control and crashed on Lincoln Street, a short distance away and the driver fled on foot.

While the injured officer was given first aid, Police, assisted by a dog unit and the Eagle helicopter, tracked the suspect to an area of bush. Thirty minutes later, they located an individual hiding up a tree and took the person into custody.

The officer suffered moderate injuries to their face but has since been discharged from Waikato Hospital.

An 18-year-old Rotorua man is in custody and charges are being considered.

The injured officer is being provided with support as they recover from their injuries and will have the next week off work. It’s gravely concerning to see a Police officer injured while carrying out their duties and incidents like this demonstrate the unpredictable and dangerous situations Police face, often with little or no warning.

CIB and the Serious Crash Unit are investigating the incident.

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