Holiday weekend fatalities prompt warning from Waikato Police

Holiday weekend fatalities prompt warning from Waikato Police


 While disappointed to be reflecting on the loss of two men’s’ lives on Waikato roads over Labour Weekend, a senior Waikato Police officer says if it wasn’t for the efforts of some concerned members of the public, and her staff, the road toll could have been far worse.

Road Policing Manager, Inspector Freda Grace, said the potential for disaster was apparent even before the official holiday period started on Friday afternoon.

“Shortly before 4pm on Friday one of our officers stopped a vehicle carrying a family of five heading north on SH1 at the northern end of the Waikato Expressway.

“The reason we stopped the vehicle was it was recorded travelling at 113km/h. On checking on mum, dad and the three kids inside, our officer found none were wearing seatbelts. The potential for serious injury or even worse if you are in a car that crashes at that speed are huge and it’s really not on.”

On a positive note Mrs Grace said intervention by members of the public probably saved the life of one driver described in a driving complaint as weaving all over the Paeroa-Tahuna Rd on Sunday.

“That call from the public led to a Morrinsville patrol pulling the vehicle over about 3.20pm.

“The 24-year-old Hamilton man, who was on a zero-alcohol license, returned a breath alcohol reading of 1062mgs when breath tested. He told the officer he had been up all night drinking and watching the rugby and was on his way home. Considering this is a major through road and crosses SH27, he was putting himself and other motorists at serious risk.”

While tragedy was avoided in this instance Mrs Grace said it was unfortunate it couldn’t be avoided altogether.

“Early on Saturday morning the number of motorcyclists who have died on our roads rose to 11 after a man on his way to work discovered the wreckage of a motorcycle at the intersection of Hutchinson and the Matamata-Walton Roads about 5.30am.

“Searching a nearby paddock the man then found the body of 21-year-old farm worker, Stoney Arthur Stephen BROWN. The crash is still under investigation by the Serious Crash Unit but initial indications suggest Mr BROWN failed to negotiate a T-intersection and collided with a bank.”

Mrs Grace said while this tragedy was the most serious, it wasn’t the only incident of concern for Police involving motorcycles.

“That same day an officer on Cambridge Rd outside Te Awamutu stopped a motorcyclist travelling at 123km/h who returned a breath alcohol reading of 687mgs while an officer working on SH3 near Otorohanga stopped a rider travelling at 145km/h.”
“High speeds weren’t limited to vehicles with two wheels either with one car driver stopped on SH1 at Taupiri on Friday night travelling at 186km/h and another stopped in the same area doing 153km/h.”

Mrs Grace said on Saturday another car was stopped on SH1 near Taupiri travelling at 153km/h and another at 136km/h with the driver returning a breath alcohol reading of 280mgs.

“And it wasn’t just on rural roads where there was a problem. That night a 29 -year old man on a learner license was stopped on a 60km/h stretch of Hamilton’s Te Rapa Rd doing 130km/h in a car with no warrant of fitness. When breath tested he returned a result of 646mgs.”

“Again there was a real potential for tragedy. This man was carrying a 14-year-old passenger and already this year, of the 35 deaths from 32 crashes in the Waikato, nine crashes involved drivers breaching their license conditions.”

Mrs Grace said a further tragedy occurred on a busy rural Waikato highway on Sunday.

“In this incident a 32-year-old pedestrian lost his life when he was struck on SH39 by two northbound trucks at the southern end of Pirongia early on Sunday morning.

“Of note with both these fatalities, they involved two men carrying out non-holiday related, every day activities. It goes to show that regardless of the time of year road users need to treat the road and others on it with respect, after all, road safety is no accident.”