Sunday afternoon commuters witnessed dramatic scenes on the Tullamarine Freeway when a man was arrested after crashing an allegedly stolen van into multiple vehicles in a bid to evade police.
The Hyundai van was allegedly carrying stolen goods.
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Man charged over Tulla Freeway chaos
Watch as a driver allegedly rams a stolen van into cars on the Tullamarine Freeway in front of terrified onlookers. Video courtesy Seven News Melbourne.
Victoria Police spokeswoman Lee Thomson said police had followed the van from Broadmeadows to Travancore.
"It is alleged a Hyundai van was spotted by police on Tooradin Avenue, Broadmeadows, about 11.05am," Leading Senior Constable Thomson said.
"Police attempted to intercept but the van sped off."
Leading Senior Constable Thomson said the allegedly stolen van was seen by police a short time later on Tongio Court, Broadmeadows.
About 11.15am, the van sped off again along Barry Road once the driver saw police.
"It entered the Tullamarine Freeway and was monitored from a distance by the police Air Wing as it headed towards Melbourne," she said.
"A police car was used to stop other vehicles from catching up to the van on the freeway."
Leading Senior Constable Thomson said the vehicle was caught in heavy traffic on the freeway between Brunswick Road and Flemington Road and a trailing police car passed the van while it was stuck in traffic. The officers pulled over to the side of the freeway and asked the Air Wing where the van was.
"They were informed that it was caught up in traffic behind them and a decision was made to use stop sticks," she said.
"Trailing members caught up to the stationary van and attempted to arrest the driver who was unaware of police at that stage.
"The van took off and collided with numerous vehicles as it forced its way through the built-up traffic."
She said the stop-sticks were deployed and the van was disabled.
"Police arrested the driver and inspected the van, which was carrying a large amount of property believed to be stolen in the course of numerous recent burglaries," Leading Senior Constable Thomson said.
"No one was injured during the incident and a 24-year-old Broadmeadows man is currently assisting police with their enquiries."
However, a witness told The Age it wasn't just as "simple as a few simple accidents".
"A police car blocked the whole highway a couple of cars in front of us, helicopters above, police officers swarming everywhere with Tasers and guns drawn, screaming for everyone to get back in their cars," she said.
"A white van came smashing through the middle into all the cars, including ours.
"The driver was tackled to the ground by police, then enormous guys came running through the middle trying to fight the driver."
Leading Senior Constable Paul Turner said a 24-year-old Broadmeadows man had been remanded to appear in Broadmeadows Magistrates Court on Monday.
"[He is] charged with 12 counts of reckless conduct endangering serious injury, four counts of evading police, four counts of unlicensed driving, two counts of burglary, two counts of theft and theft of motor vehicle," Leading Senior Constable Turner said.
The multiple crashes closed two city-bound lanes on the Tullamarine Freeway, causing traffic gridlock and headaches for motorists on Sunday afternoon.
Hundreds of commuters faced lengthy delays, with the traffic queue snaking back six kilometres along the freeway from Brunswick Road.
All lanes were open and traffic was moving again by 2pm.
Investigators are requesting anyone whose vehicle was damaged during the incident to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.