Police unrepentant for nabbing hospital staffer
Police are investigating a Palmerston North Hospital employee accused of ignoring road rules and failing to stop his car for an officer because he was going to an emergency callout.
Palmerston North acting Area Commander Senior Sergeant Brett Amas confirmed an investigation was under way into an incident on Thursday night involving a MidCentral Health staff member.
Acting Inspector Bruce McKay, of police central communications, told the Manawatu Standard it appeared the man had been called to work about 7pm.
But while travelling there, he was caught speeding and running a red light, and then failed to stop when a police unit flashed the blue and red lights, he said.
When they caught up with him at his workplace, the man defended his actions, believing he was entitled to speed and not stop.
"There is no legal authority to exceed speed limits," Mr McKay said.
McKay said he would be a "little perturbed" if hospital workers thought they could break the law in their private vehicles.
"We are not happy with the explanation, that they thought they did not have to stop.
"They went through a red light and could have killed someone - I can't think of any job at the hospital that would have justified that."
Amas said no charges had yet been laid.
There appeared to be no issue with the legitimacy of his defence, in that he was travelling to an emergency job at the hospital.
But he said police would be looking at the pros and cons of the defence before making a decision on charges.
Anyone travelling at speed with no warning lights in a plain car who were indicated to stop by police should do so, he said.
Amas said police were not unforgiving when it came to such circumstances, but the situation could have been dealt with differently, rather than not stopping for police.
They would be speaking with the man first before any further action was taken.
MidCentral Health spokesman Dennis Geddis would not comment on the specific case but said when staff were responding to emergencies, they would hopefully take appropriate care regarding their safety, and the safety of others.