Was Published

3 weeks ago

News Source: stuff.co.nz
Steamroller Used In Destructive Midnight Rampage.
court incident people

Man Appears In Court Charged With Drink Driving After 'serious Steamrolling' Incident In Wellington

The 47-year-old man appeared in the Hutt Valley District Court on Saturday morning following the midnight melee, in which police responded to what they called reports of a 'steamroller' being used to damage vehicles that had congregated at an industrial site. 

The man was charged with interfering with motor vehicles with reckless disregard for persons and property, and driving with excess breath alcohol. According to court documents police alleged his breath alcohol was 560mcg per litre of breath - about twice the legal limit of 250mcg per litre of breath. 

He successfully applied for interim name suppression, and he was remanded on bail to reappear in court on August 15.

Following the court appearance Detective Senior Sergeant Kevan Verry issued a strongly worded statement, reminding people not to take matters into their own hands. 

"As this matter is before the courts police are limited in what further information can be provided. However, it is clear this was a serious incident which had the potential for tragedy.

"We urge anyone who notices activity that concerns them to contact police straight away, rather than taking actions which might put themselves and others at risk."      

Verry said five vehicles were damaged by the roller, and one person was in hospital with injuries, though police said they were injured by another vehicle, not by the roller.

A second person had facial injuries during an altercation, and had since been discharged from hospital. 

Video circulated on social media showed a large group of people at a car meet up, several of whom were loudly revving engines. 

The roller could be seen driving towards the group, and up onto the curb, where it drove into at least two vehicles, pushing them aside but not flattening them. 

Members of the crowd yelled abuse at the driver, and are then heard yelling "bro, get your car out of here," as the roller made its way towards them.

Verry said investigations were continuing and further charges were likely. 

"Our priority is making sure people are safe, and we are committed to working with the community on illegal street racing activity and anti-social driver behaviour," Verry said. 

Police were also aware of a "concerning sentiment" circulating among angry social media users, and reminded people that making threatening or abusive statements can be an offence. 

On Saturday morning the scene at Silverstream Industrial Park, including a roller, was cordoned off by police, and an officer was taking photographs. The large subdivision consists of open grassy areas. 

Property owner Richard Burrell said car meet ups had been an ongoing problem for several months, and that the events usually drew large crowds of between 50 and 100 cars.

Aside from finding rubbish and broken bottles on the ground, he had also dealt with damage to the industrial machinery on site, and some vehicles allegedly had diesel siphoned from the tanks. 

He said he would be installing cameras and gates to protect the property in future. 

Police were called to Eastern Hutt Rd at about 12.25am Saturday morning, and ambulances arrived at the scene five minutes alter. 

The Serious Crash Unit attended the scene and enquiries were ongoing to establish the circumstances of the incident.

Police wanted to speak to anyone involved in this incident, particularly those who had video footage which could assist the investigation.

Anyone with information was asked to contact Wellington Police on 04 381 2000.