It is understood the driver of the car was 16, while the two passengers were 13.
Both officers were “absolutely devastated” by the deaths, Price said.
They went directly to the vehicle and “did their very best” to get them out, but were unable to do so, he said.
The officers were injured as a result and were at home recuperating, Price said.
Price confirmed the Mazda Familia car was stolen the night of the crash.
Police started chasing the car, but abandoned the pursuit quickly because of the way it was being driven, Price said.
Officers laid spikes to try to stop the car.
The car hit the spikes and crashed into a tree, rupturing the fuel tank and catching fire. The road was wet at the time of the crash, leaving no skid marks.
“There has been a ball of fire, we know this from CCTV footage,” Price said.
A disaster victim identification team was working through identifying the three dead teens, but police had a “fair idea” who they were from items in the car.
Police were still telling their families, he said.
Mark Scott was sitting at the lights at a nearby corner when the car shot past him.
“It shook the hell out of my car, worse than a large truck going past you on an open road,” Scott said.
Two police cars in pursuit followed, as the car ran through red lights.
Police appeared to abandon the chase around the next set of lights, Scott said.
“I’ve never seen someone going so fast down Moorhouse (St) let alone through red lights like that.”
Blenheim Rd resident Ruth Maxwell said police seemed to be “astonished” by the crash.
“When I came out, the police were standing there and I don’t think they realised what to do,” Maxwell said.
“They were as astonished by what happened as anyone else.”