The Independent Police Conduct Authority says a man who died of injuries sustained in a police pursuit was prepared to risk his life and that of others to avoid being caught.
The watchdog has released a report saying officers broke the rules when pursuing Troy MacKay in Christchurch, but their actions did not lead to his death.
A police patrol chased the 22-year-old for three minutes in the suburb of Riccarton before his Subaru Impreza struck a concrete barrier at a speed of about 151km/h in June last year.
Mr Mackay died on the way to hospital and his two passengers suffered serious injuries.
The authority says the officers acted lawfully when beginning the pursuit and the driver of the police vehicle believed the pursuit was over when he could no longer see Mr Mackay's car.
The IPCA report says the officers did not then entirely follow procedure, failing to slow to a stop and turn off their lights and sirens.
The Canterbury District Commander, Superintendent Dave Cliff, says staff are supposed to end a pursuit by stopping and turning off the lights and sirens, but the officer did not pull over.
However, Mr Cliff says it was a technical breach only, because it could have had no influence on Mr MacKay's behaviour.