42yo Christchurch woman charged after allegedly stealing then crashing police car

A 42-year-old woman's been arrested and charged after allegedly stealing and then crashing a police car she'd just been put in the back of.

The incident happened in the Christchurch suburb of Wainoni just after 7pm on Saturday night.

"I heard a big bang and I came out here and a lady had come across the island here, hit this car, hit this car and ended up here," says witness James Reynolds.

Police were called to Wainoni Road last night to reports of an allegedly intoxicated person trying to drive.

Police say the woman allegedly refused a breath alcohol test and so was put in the back of a patrol car. But as the officer was walking around to the driver's side, the woman allegedly scrambled into the front seat and took off, crashing moments later.

This left three parked cars badly damaged, and the police car was towed away overnight.

"It was totalled. All the front left-hand corner was taken out, the left front wheel was hanging on," Reynolds says.

The woman's been charged and will appear in the Christchurch District Court this week. The owners of the three damaged cars have been left to clean up the mess.