Driver drunk, high, paranoid

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 18:21 20/06/2013

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A Rotorua man who dragged his partner behind a vehicle at speeds of more than 100kmh had become "paranoid" after smoking illegal drugs.

Sonny Tearamoana Waiti yesterday pleaded guilty in the Rotorua District Court to kidnapping his partner, Ana Eriepa, 37, on May 25.

Waiti, 26, appeared in the dock handcuffed and flanked by police. He avoided eye contact with the public gallery during his brief appearance.

Judge Denys Barry remanded Waiti in custody for sentencing on August 23.

The judge also lifted an interim suppression order on the summary of facts detailing Waiti's offending.

It revealed Waiti and Eriepa had travelled together from Rotorua to Tauranga on May 24 to buy a new car.

The pair had been in a relationship for three weeks, with Waiti living at Eriepa's Rotorua house.

During the trip, Waiti consumed alcohol and illicit drugs and became increasingly paranoid.

After returning to Rotorua early on May 25, Waiti drove off in the newly purchased car alone before returning to Eriepa's house mid-morning.

He was described by Eriepa and other family members as drunk.

An argument between Waiti and Eriepa developed, with Waiti demanding she drive him to addresses in Rotorua.

Eriepa drove Waiti to a rural property on State Highway 30, near Rotorua, where Waiti got out, removed the car keys and began removing items from the car's boot.

He then picked up Eriepa and put her in the boot, despite her protests.

Waiti then drove away from the property and was seen by witnesses about 1.30pm driving erratically along SH1 between Tokoroa and Putaruru.

Eriepa later told police she felt the car serving and feared she'd be involved in a car accident.

She managed to pull open the lid of the car's boot and climb out while the car was travelling between 90kmh and 100kmh.

As she fell from the boot, one ankles got jammed between the car's tow ball and the bumper, trapping her.

As a result, she was dragged about 1.6 kilometres along SH1.

The highway has a "rough chip" seal.

Several witnesses, who saw Eriepa fall, tooted their horns and waved at Waiti to stop.

Waiti continued to drive erratically, reaching speeds of more than 100kmh as he overtook other vehicles.

One motorists pulled up alongside Waiti to try to alert him to Eriepa's plight.

Waiti responded by giving the "finger gesture" and deliberately swerved his car at the motorist.

The sharp serving action caused Eriepa to be flung free.

Waiti didn't stop but was arrested a short time later on the outskirts of Putaruru.

Eriepa suffered serious injuries to her head, feet, legs and hips.

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Her left leg was amputated below the knee.

She remains in a Waikato Hospital ward in a stable condition.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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