Drink-driver tasered after eluding police

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 05:00 16/12/2013

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A drink-driver who sped away from police was later Tasered and arrested by a lone officer outside Tariki.

Senior Sergeant Thomas McIntyre said the man, in his 20s, was briefly pursued by police on Friday night after he sped away from a booze checkpoint in New Plymouth.

The pursuit was called off for safety reasons after the man reached speeds of 115kmh in a 50kmh zone, McIntyre said.

"He was later stopped just outside Tariki. He resisted arrest and had to be Tasered in order to be subdued so he could be arrested."

McIntyre said the Taser saved the lone officer from injury after the pair got into a "scuffle".

The man has been charged with failing to stop for police, resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer and driving with excess breath alcohol.

The incident was the most dramatic of Operation Unite, a joint exercise carried out across New Zealand and Australia and focused on alcohol-related offences.

In the annual weekend operation, Taranaki police officers visited 70 licensed premises, stopped 1600 cars at 12 different checkpoints and processed seven people for drink-driving.

"Of those, two had six previous drink-drive convictions and one had two previous convictions. They were all aged between 40 and 50 years old.

"It would appear the message is getting through to the younger generations that drinking and driving is not worth the risk and they are changing their habits. But the older generations continue to drink and drive," Mr McIntyre said.

Five drivers stopped were also lucky to escape with only a warning after recording between 250 and 400 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.

Under new limits soon to be in place, they would have been instantly fined and had demerit points recorded against their licence.

Of the bars visited, none were found to be in breach of the Sale of Liquor Act but Mr McIntyre said there was an alarming number of young people in New Plymouth who had "pre-loaded" with alcohol and were heavily intoxicated before coming into the city.

"One girl ended up lying on the sidewalk in a pool of her own vomit. Her mother had to come and pick her up.

"That is the state these kids are getting themselves into. They don't think they've had a good night until they've made themselves sick."

Nationwide, about 45,000 drivers were breath-tested at checkpoints but total arrests for drink-driving were not yet available, police said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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