Two nearly run over in bid to stop stolen car

WRECKED: The small van after crashing down a 15-metre bank and then having its door cut open.
WRECKED: The small van after crashing down a 15-metre bank and then having its door cut open.

Two Nelson workers who tried to stop a car being stolen had to move fast to avoid being run over.

Mechanic Aidan Hogarth who stood in front of the car on Gloucester St jumped for his life as the thief accelerated, and car salesman Toby Page who had grabbed the driver hit the road and rolled as he took off.

The drama began on Friday around 5pm when a man got into Nissan S-Cargo car belonging to Auto Super Shoppe Nelson City which was parked outside the business.

Manager Andrew Bradley was in the reception with a customer when they noticed a man in the car. "Before we knew what was happening he just drove over the top of Aidan, luckily he managed to jump out of the way," Bradley said.

Hogarth said: "I stood in front of the vehicle and Toby was beside him asking him what he was doing. He accelerated into me, Toby grabbed a handful of his hair and he took off. Toby hit the road and had the sense to roll so just got some grazes and bumps. It was pretty horrendous."

A woman, who was driving out of United Video said: "This vehicle came speeding out of the auto shop on the wrong side of the road. Someone from the shop tried to stop him and ended up rolling around on the road and nearly got run over. I followed him and was behind him and he was driving really erratically and in a real hurry, tooting at the lights when he got sandwiched in between myself and the car in front, he ran the red light at the McDonald's intersection."

She called the police. "I thought he needed to be caught before he hurt someone."

The vehicle ended up crashing down a bank off Brook St. The driver told police he was hurrying home to avoid setting off an alarm from his home detention ankle monitor.

Bradley said the man had come into the business two nights earlier, stressed because he needed to get home for the monitor deadline and asked to use the phone.

"He was really stressed out and we rang him a taxi and that was the last we saw until Friday when he decided to steal our vehicle."

Firefighters cut the vehicle to free to injured driver who was taken to Nelson Hospital.