A CAR, which was stolen while an eight-year-old boy sat inside, later ended up in a serious crash near Camelford after a police pursuit through North Cornwall.
A police investigation has been launched following the collision on the A39 between Collans Cross and Starrapark, just north of Camelford.
Police were alerted around 2pm on Tuesday after a silver VW Golf was taken from Dutson Road in Launceston.
The female owner had gone into the nearby Spar shop, leaving an eight-year-old child in the car.
The Golf was then taken by a man who drove off but stopped shortly afterwards, around 100 yards down the road, to let the boy out of the car before leaving.
Police attempted to stop the car outside Camelford but this was unsuccessful.
Officers then followed the vehicle which was found a short time later having collided with a silver Vauxhall Insignia on the A39 between the B3314 and A395 near Camelford.
The female driver of the Vauxhall, a local woman, was treated by paramedics for minor injuries.
She said: "It was a pretty horrific experience and as there is a police investigation I would rather not speak about it."
The man driving the Golf suffered suspected spinal injuries and was taken by ambulance to Treliske Hospital, Truro.
The Golf driver, a 29-year-old man from Okehampton, was arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle as a result of the incident.
Both carriageways of the A39 were closed between B3314 and A395 around 4.45pm. Another driver near the scene said that the scene was "horrendous".
"There was debris scattered for 200 yards. There was virtually nothing left of the Golf. It was as if it had disintegrated," he said.
The road was reopened by 11.45pm.
Police have launched an investigation and, because the car was being followed, the incident has been voluntarily referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Police are appealing to anyone who witnessed the collision or saw the Golf being driven prior to the collision to call 101, quoting crime reference BL/12/973.