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Motor vehicle crashes hit record high, traffic safety major concern for Police

Saturday 6 July 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Court, Crime, National

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Motor vehicle crashes hit record high, traffic safety major concern for Police
On Wednesday night, police attended to a crash reported at the Tupapa main road where a female driver had crossed the opposing lane and smashed through the hedges onto the compound. SUPPLIED /24070523

Motor vehicle crashes continue to be a concern for police as last month’s figure of 34 crashes marked a record high since September 2018 when the same number was reported.

Police media/strategic advisor Trevor Pitt also says the annual total is trending ahead of last year at 4 per cent higher than 2023.

Pitt highlighted that poor driving on Rarotonga and “slack” driver responsibility continues to be reflected in ongoing crashes and penalties arising from road incidents.

On Wednesday night, police attended to a crash reported at the Tupapa main road where a female driver had crossed the opposing lane and smashed through the hedges onto the compound.

Pitt said a blood sample was taken, and it is suspected to be alcohol-related. The results of the blood test are not yet confirmed.

In a two day checkpoint exercise around Rarotonga, police were “so overwhelmed” by the number of non-compliant vehicles that many drivers evaded being fined.

Pitt said only 34 managed to be processed, for failing to maintain the required documentation, such as warrants of fitness and annual registration.

He also said last month, more than half of those arrested by Police were for drunk driving.

Traffic charges again took up the larger share of offenses brought before the court this week.

At the Criminal Court on Thursday, Justice of the Peace Georgina Keenan-Williams presided over driving related matters where fines were issued.

A young woman has been ordered to pay reparations of $1335 for a charge of careless driving.

Jenya Metuakore was convicted for careless driving. She was found to have been driving carelessly at Nikao main road on June 3, 2024.

The court heard Metuakore drove out of a driveway and collided with the victim's motorcycle.

She was further ordered to pay a fine of $50 with $50 court cost and $20 for medical report.

Anthony Enoka was ordered to pay a fine of $400 for careless driving, excess blood alcohol and court costs.

The court heard that on June 15 at 6.45am, a crash at Arorangi was reported to Police.

Senior police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Fairoa Tararo stated that Enoka drank 24 cans of Tui beer after a dance show on June 14 at 9.30pm. The following day, Enoka drove home, fell asleep at the wheel and crashed.

He was identified as the driver and taken to the hospital where his blood alcohol result was 150.4mg.

He was further disqualified from driving for 12 months.

John Daniel, represented by defence lawyer Lavi Rokoika, admitted to a charge of careless driving and excess blood alcohol.

The Court heard that on October 15 last year, a motor vehicle crash at Black Rock, Arorangi was reported to police.

Daniel, who was seen driving from town, overtook a vehicle on his way home and his vehicle tyres slipped and he crashed. His blood alcohol level was 206 milligrams, over four times the legal limit.

Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Fairoa Tararo stated that the defendant, after being interviewed, claimed he had dropped a friend off at the airport and then driven back to Arorangi.

He was ordered to pay a fine of $500 for EBA and disqualified from driving for 12 months. He was further convicted and ordered to pay $100 for careless driving and $100 fine with $150 reparations for blood analysis.

The case of a pick-up truck driver who is alleged to have struck a 60-year-old motorcyclist causing her death on April 17 has been adjourned.

Defence lawyer Mark Short made submissions that he reviewed disclosures and there were some major concerns.

Short said this was a serious case and it is a sad situation.

“However, there are some anomalies I'd like clarified,” he added.

The matter has been adjourned to September 5.

Meanwhile a woman who is accused of taking $1000 from the OTB Restaurant has had her case adjourned.

Not having a legal representative, JP Keenan-Williams adjourned the matter to July 25 giving time for the defendant Tetiare Inamata to understand the charge.

Inamata is on bail with conditions she surrender her passport to the Court, not to go to the OTB premises and not interfere with police investigation or with owner Philip Nordt.

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