News

Dramatic end to Police Pursuit

By Simon Ruppert

A high-speed police chase ended in dramatic fashion in Benalla when police forced a car from the road in Bridge St West.

With the offending car travelling erratically at high speeds through several school zones police were left with no choice but to perform a manoeuvre to end the pursuit.

Police surround the vehicle immediately after it came to a stop. Photo by Zach Cogger

A witness who asked not to be named said immediately before the pursuit ended, the car, a Volkswagen, was driven through Arundel St over Bridge St to Goodwin St then back to Bridge St West via Faithfull St where a large number of students were leaving school.

As the car accelerated towards the CBD at high speed police executed what is commonly known as a Pursuit Intervention Technique, or PIT-maneuver spinning the vehicle, bringing it to a stop facing the wrong direction in the eastbound lane.

The driver and passengers, who were fleeing a suspected burglary, fled the scene.

Detective Sergeant Chris Hill from Wangaratta CIU said the pursuit began about 2.10pm at an address in Phillipson St, Wangaratta.

"The vehicle was reported by a witness to police who located it exiting Wangaratta," Det Sgt Hill said.

"It was followed for a period of time where we estimate it was driving at extremely high speeds between Glenrowan and Benalla. At this point the Police Airwing became involved."

The airwing helicopter assisted police on the ground who managed to damage the car's tires.

Photo by Mattie Hooker

"We damaged the tires to slow the car down, but it continued to drive at dangerous speeds through the township of Benalla," Det Sgt Hill said.

"With the car travelling (at speed) through a school zone police assessed the incident as extremely dangerous to the community at the time and were force to take drastic action to stop it."

The incident, in which no-one was injured, came to an end at 3pm, nearly an hour after it began.

Witnesses reported that the car drove from Arundel St, into Goodwin St and past Benalla P-12 College in Faithfull St before being stopped on Bridge St West.

"One person has been charged with burglary, conduct endangering life, evading police and driving in a dangerous manner," Det Sgt Hill said.

Three people have also been charged with burglary.

"A quantity of stolen goods were recovered," Det Sgt Hill said.

Police said the car was not registered.

Anyone with information or dash cam footage is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au