Man flees flaming vehicle in Tauranga

A driver has gone to drastic measures to avoid police, driving over several sets of road spikes before fleeing his flaming vehicle by jumping into a nearby river and swimming toward the sea.

Police spotted a vehicle acting suspiciously in Waihi about 9.30 am on Monday, a spokeswoman says.

Road spikes were set up near Wairoa Bridge on State Highway 2, but the driver did a U-turn and sped away when he spotted police.

Police were in pursuit for a short while but that was quickly abandoned and road spikes were again deployed, this time on Whakamarama Road.

The driver went over those spikes, blowing the front left tyre, before driving over a further set of roads spikes at the intersection of Youngson Road and Old Highway.

Another set of spikes were deployed again at the Wairoa Bridge where police noticed the underbody of the car appeared to be on fire.

The driver abandoned the car, jumping into the river and swimming out to sea.

He is expected to face a number of charges.

The incident follows the death of three people on Sunday morning near the village of Hope, south of Nelson, following a 6km police chase for a wanted man in Richmond.

A review of police pursuit police by the Independent Police Conduct Authority which began last July will come out later this year.