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Police Pursuit At Taharoa Beach

NZ Police CommCens Alert 01:30 15-12-2007 Waikato

Location of incident: Taharoa Beach

Police Pursuit At Taharoa Beach

At approximately 1.30am on Saturday the 15th of December 2007 the Otorohanga and Te Kuiti Police attended a report of a large altercation that escalated into multiple people fighting at a Tavern in Waitomo.

While Police were attending this incident, a Nissan 4 x 4 vehicle was noticed driving into the Tavern carpark. The driver of this vehicle sighted the Police and exited the car park at speed. There were 3 occupants in the vehicle at the time.

Police followed the vehicle from the car park and activated their siren and red and blue flashing lights in an attempt to stop the vehicle. The marked patrol vehicle was directly behind the Nissan vehicle and the driver of this vehicle failed to stop. The Nissan vehicle continued driving in a westerly direction on an extremely windy rural road at speeds up to 90 kilometres per hour.

At times the driver of the vehicle would stop and wait for Police to stop their vehicle behind him and approach on foot before yelling verbal abuse, and speeding off. As the driver negotiated the bends in the road he would utilise both lanes of the road and at times remain in the opposite lane.

The pursuit continued for approximately 63 kilometres and stopped only when the driver's vehicle got stuck in the sand on Taharoa Beach.

At this time the driver absconded from his vehicle and ran through the sand dunes onto the beach. He has then entered the water in an attempt to evade Police.

Police lost sight of the driver due to the rough sea conditions. After a brief search, the driver was observed in the surf waving his arms in the air as if he was in trouble.

Two Constables entered the water in an attempt to rescue the driver and he was located face down on the water and not moving. Police then assisted the driver who began to struggle violently and had to be restrained.

Police removed him form the water and returned him to his vehicle where he continued to struggle violently. He was subsequently taken to Te Kuiti Hospital for medical treatment.

As a result of this incident, a 25 year old Te Awamutu man has been arrested and charged with Failing to Stop for Police and Reckless Driving. He has also been processed for driving with an excess blood alcohol level. He will appear in the Te Kuiti District Court on the 19th December 2007.

A 26 year old Tokoroa man who was a passenger in the vehicle was also arrested and has been charged with aiding a person to drive while under the influence of alcohol.

Sergeant Soepnel from the Otorohanga Police states that this type of behaviour and excessive drinking will not be tolerated and anyone caught driving under the influence of alcohol will dealt with by the Courts. The time of year does not justify this type of behaviour and people should not have to put up with drunken behaviour and have their lives put at risk by people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This festive season Police will be focussing on this type of unacceptable behaviour and anyone found in these situations can not expect any leniency from the Justice system.


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