Mower-death driver named
An elderly Hastings District Council worker sentenced after the death a toddler while he was driving a mower has been named publicly for the first time.
After previously being granted name suppression Ross David Pollock, 73, was named in a High Court decision released today.
In October Uetaha Dahtanian Ransfield-Wanoa was playing at Kirkpatrick Park in Hastings with his cousins when he was hit by the lawnmower.
Pollock tooted and tried to shoo the children away but they ignored him. He was still mowing when Uetaha ran towards the machine in the direction of the playground. Onlookers said the child appeared to have been sucked into the mower’s blades.
The accident was witnessed by other children, who ran to get help. Uetaha died at the scene.
During sentencing last month Judge Jonathan Down said: ‘‘You should have slowed down and stopped well before he reached you.’’
In a statement read during sentencing Pollock said no words could express how sorry he was, and he wished he could change what happened that terrible day.
He apologised for robbing the family of sharing Uetaha’s first day of school.
Uetaha had been counting down the days till his birthday, his mother, Ailza Wanoa, told the court. He had 53 days to go until he turned 5.
Pollock pleaded guilty to one charge of dangerous driving causing death.
He was sentenced to six months home detention, 100 hours of community work, ordered to pay $5000 in emotional reparation and disqualified from driving for three years. Pollock, who has a clean driving record, successfully appealed against the length of the driving ban, which was reduced to 18 months, after the Crown accepted that, although there was a lapse in judgement, the offending did not involve the usual circumstances of bad car driving on a road.
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said it was a tragic case.
‘‘A family has lost a son and that has caused major sadness and grief, and a very good council employee, with a lot of seniority, who also lost his own son at a very similar age, has had his life turned upside down as well.’’