Woman and kids flee police

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 10:00 08/08/2014

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A Hawke's Bay woman is alleged to have fled police with seven children in the car.

None of the children were wearing seatbelts, head of Hawke's Bay road policing, senior sergeant Greg Brown said.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Tracy Waihape, 39 after she failed to appear in Wairoa District Court yesterday.

She is accused of having seven unrestrained children in the car, failing to stop for police, failing to remain at a checkpoint, resisting arrest, having no driver's licence in an unwarranted and unregistered car and failing to appear in court.

Police were working alongside Roadsafe in Wairoa on Tuesday when a Subaru station wagon came to their attention, Brown said.
A constable pulled the car over and found two toddlers and two teenagers unrestrained in non-compliant car seats.

The officer told Waihape that the unwarranted and unregistered car would have to be impounded. As he stepped behind the car to let awaiting trucks pass he saw Waihape wind the window up.

Waihape is then alleged to have sped off, leading police on a 2 kilometre pursuit reaching speeds of 65kmh.
Police arrested her after the short pursuit, Brown said.

It wasn't until police were searching the car that they found three more children hiding under a cargo cover in the boot. The children were aged 4, 5 and 10, Brown said.

Waihape is believed to be the mother of six of the children and grandmother to one.Brown said it was "really disappointing" that someone would put their children in such risk.

Police often issued infringement notices to people who had unrestrained children in the car, but Brown had never before come across seven unrestrained children in a car.

People were encouraged to contact the police if they had concerns about other drivers' behaviour or noticed children in cars not wearing seatbelts, Brown said."Unrestrained children is a key safety area and we're happy to take calls about it."

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- The Dominion Post

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