Driver charged over dangerous car

MARY-JO TOHILL
Last updated 15:02 27/08/2012
Police were alerted to this vehicle's safety when they noticed only one headlight was working last night.

DANGEROUS DRIVE: Police were alerted to this vehicle's safety when they noticed only one headlight was working last night.

Wheels secured with only three nuts, not the legal four, caused police concern for the safety of not only the car's occupants, which include two children and a baby, but other motorists.
SCREW LOOSE: Wheels secured with only three nuts, not the legal four, caused police concern for the safety of not only the car's occupants, which include two children and a baby, but other motorists.

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Alexandra police travelling back from helping monitor Operation Big Cruise in Dunedin say they stopped a car in far worse condition than any they'd seen at the weekend when about 1000 young people converged on Dunedin on a tour of the city and nearby towns.

The Rural Drink Drive Group's officer in charge Sergeant Bruce Martin was on his way back to his Alexandra base from the event, organised on Facebook, when he saw a car coming in the opposite direction with only one headlight working, at about 8pm yesterday.

Upon seeing the patrol car, the driver tried to turn up a side road near Becks, Martin said.

When he caught up with the car, inside he found a man, a woman and children aged five and three in seatbelts but without booster seats, and a six-month-old baby in a car seat.

When police examined the car, they found wheels secured with only three nuts and two bald front tyres. The driver said he was on his way to Dunedin to swap the car for another, Martin said.

The car's general state caused police concern because of the young occupants, therefore the man, after some resistance, was persuaded to drive the car to Alexandra police station with an escort and on arrival, the family was transferred into a police vehicle and driven home to their residence in Queenstown.

''It's not usual for police to do take this step but we had an over-riding responsibility to the people in that vehicle,'' Martin said.

After a more detailed examination of the car at the Alexandra police station, the 25-year-old male driver was charged with reckless driving for causing danger to his children. He was fined $200 for no warrant of fitness and $100 for no registration and would receive 15 demerit points on his restricted licence.

He will appear in the Queenstown District Court.

Given the children's ages, and the apparent lack of food or baby formula in the vehicle, Martin said the family would be referred to the police's partner agencies for further investigation.

The Big Cruise rally was to show opposition to boy racer laws but specifically Christchurch City’s anti-cruise by-law.

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- The Southland Times

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