Lights off in late night police pursuit north of Hamilton

Tyson Edwards' flight from the police happened at speeds of 150kmh in a 80kmh zone.

Tyson Edwards' flight from the police happened at speeds of 150kmh in a 80kmh zone.

A Hamilton man switched off his headlights in a bid to elude the police cars behind him as he hurtled along roads north of the city.

The details of Tyson Ngaruhe Edwards attempt to avoid apprehension were revealed when the 26 year old appeared for sentencing in the Hamilton District Court this month, on charges of failing to stop for police, dangerous driving and refusing a police officer's request for a blood specimen.

It was about 11.50pm on August 28 when the Honda car Edwards was driving was spotted by a police patrol car on Te Kowhai Rd.

Edwards saw the police car as well. His reaction was to hit the accelerator.

Edwards made tracks to Te Rapa Rd and then headed north, with the police on his tail. He was going fast - doing 150kmh in an 80kmh zone and, later, 140kmh in 100kmh and 70kmh zones.

For a time he attempted to cloak his movements by switching his headlights off.

He crossed the centre line, into the path of oncoming traffic.

He zig-zagged between lanes.

He raced through a red light.

It was a flight that came to a halt when Edwards found his path blocked by a train at the railway crossing in Park Rd in Horotiu.

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The police surrounded his vehicle, however he refused to get out. After a struggle, he was extracted from the car.

Edwards was taken to the Hamilton Police Station, where he refused to be breath tested or have a blood sample taken to determine whether he was too intoxicated to drive.

The police summary of facts revealed he told the police he did not want to stop for them because he believed they were racists.

He also wanted to go "one-outs" (fight) with his arresting officers.

The whole incident was "an appalling period of driving", observed Judge Kim Saunders, before sentencing Edwards to 180 hours of community work, 12 months of intensive supervision and an indefinite disqualification from driving.

Edwards is able to convert his community work hours to training, if that is deemed appropriate by his probation officer.

His counsel Hayley Carson told the court prior to sentencing that he had a medical certificate showing he had suffered a significant head injury at some point in the past. He was also due to go to hospital to have an operation on his knee, which would also render him unable to drive.

Edwards' father also suffered from poor health, and Edwards was his main caregiver, who he relied heavily on.

Judge Saunders said she did have some sympathy for the effect the indefinite disqualification would have on Edwards and his family.

"That is going to cause significant hardship to you and your family. I urge you not to drive, because if you come back to court again it increases the chances of a custodial sentence."

 - Stuff

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