V8 driver identified as unwanted passenger
A man given a police warning for getting into a young woman's car and making her drive him around is Christchurch V8 SuperTourer racing car driver Andy Knight.
Knight, 26, yesterday apologised for his actions, saying he had no idea they were causing distress to the woman.
He said he had thought the woman, who did not know him, was driving him willingly.
The woman, Brooke, who is related to a Press employee, was stopped at the Aikmans Rd-Papanui Rd traffic lights when Knight opened her front passenger door and asked if she would be his taxi driver.
He asked her to drive him to pick up two friends, then drop all three at a Packe St, St Albans, house on February 5.
Brooke, 19, said that during the ride he played with her cellphone, pulled the steering wheel and touched her on the leg, saying that she had a hole in her tights.
Police investigated but found the incident did not reach the threshold to warrant a criminal charge.
Knight said he never intended to intimidate Brooke and it came as a "total shock" when he read about the incident in The Press.
He had been drinking with friends at a house and then at a bar that day. Unable to get a taxi in the late afternoon, he approached her car. She had been chatty and seemed relaxed during the ride. He and his friends were out of the car when they asked her to take them to the next stop, he said.
"There was never any malicious intent or anything out of the ordinary than what people do when they are p....., but we are sincerely sorry that our actions have caused stress and worry to the victim," he said.
"There is no way we would do it again after knowing the perception of our actions. If we knew that, we would never have done this in the first place. We'd wait for a taxi."
He had considered sending her a letter of apology but did not know who she was.
Police said the warning, issued last weekend, would stay on Knight's record for "a significant period of time" and could be used as evidence if he came to police attention again.
Knight began racing in karts at the age of 12 and won several titles. He raced Formula Ford cars before V8s.
Brooke said she was disappointed Knight had not apologised before he was "outed".
"He could have ... given a letter to police," she said.
"The first words I said to him was that he scared me."
However, she had some sympathy. Police had told her when they spoke to him he had a "sinking feeling in his gut".
"I can respect that," she said.