Tourist nearly takes out officer

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 03/01/2014
Southland Times photo
BARRY HARCOURT/Fairfax NZ
Constable Dwight Grieve warns a motorist about their driving.

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A tourist who police say nearly caused a seven-car pile-up will appear in court today.

Constable Dwight Grieve, of highway patrol, said the Indian tourist, who was travelling from Queenstown to Milford Sound, was charged with dangerous driving.

The incident comes just a day after Mr Grieve highlighted tourists' dangerous driving in The Southland Times and a week after a Chinese woman was killed in a Southland road crash.

Mr Grieve said he was alerted to the "shocking driving" yesterday afternoon after another motorist called police.

But, while waiting in his car on the side of the road for the driver to come his way, Mr Grieve said he nearly became part of a crash.

He said he saw the driver veer in front of an oncoming truck, right beside where Mr Grieve was stationed, while overtaking a car. If the truck had not taken evasive action and pulled over to the side of the road, it could have been a crash involving seven cars, he said.

Mr Grieve said the motorist who alerted him to the man's driving also accused the man of tailgating another vehicle right down the Devil's Staircase.

Mr Grieve said it was the third near-head-on collision he had attended in three days.

Acting Sergeant Blair Dalton, of highway patrol, said New Zealanders were being the eyes and ears of police on the roads when tourists were not obeying the speed limits.

It was with their help that police were able to make the roads safer and catch dangerous drivers, he said.

He praised Southlanders for taking on board the Safer Summer campaign, which dropped the speed tolerance from 10kmh above the limit to just 4kmh, but the message had failed to reach some tourists, Mr Dalton said.

With Kiwis ringing the police and making them aware of speeding and dangerous driving, they were often able to pick the drivers up further down the road, speak to them and warn them about campaign, he said.

It was about the community working with police to ensure both tourists and locals obeyed the rules so everyone could enjoy New Zealand roads, he said.

 

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