A fleeing driver who jumped off a bridge into a Waikato river to avoid police has made contact with his family to say that he is safe - but still remains at large.
Police launched a search along the banks of the Waihou River near Te Aroha for 26-year-old Cody Keenan.
Keenan, who has the words Mighty Mongrel Mob tattooed across his lower face, is wanted by police on numerous charges, including in relation to a recent pursuit in Morrinsville and for failing to appear in court.
Police say while they no longer hold fears for his safety, he is still a wanted man.
Around 11.20pm on Sunday, police received a tipoff that Keenan had been sighted at a residence in Morrinsville, says Waikato police Senior Sergeant Phil Ruddell.
As officers arrived, a van pulled out of the address. They signalled for the van to stop and it failed to do so.
During the lengthy pursuit, Phil says the fleeing driver stopped the vehicle at least twice and as officers advanced in an attempt to box the driver in, he rammed the patrol cars, causing damage as he escaped.
At the bridge on State Highway 26 in Te Aroha, the driver abandoned the vehicle and jumped into the Waihou River.
Anyone with information about Keenan’s whereabouts are asked to contact their nearest police station.
Alternatively, information can be left anonymously via the Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 line.