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Omarama Gazette

April 2021
Upper Waitaki Police news
Hi everyone, 

It's been a few months since my last report mainly because I haven’t had much to report…(touch wood).
I have been to a few crashes however, in fact in 10 days I attended four crashes, almost like going back to pre-Covid times. The main causes were inattention for one, fatigue for another and just plain carelessness for the others - they weren’t driving to the conditions or their experience.
I also recently attended a minor crash in which a tractor was holding up a caravan and behind that a car. As the road began to straighten out the car immediately pulled out to pass the caravan. A fraction of a second later the caravan indicated and also began to pull out to pass the slower tractor. At this point the car was still behind the caravan and could see what the driver’s intentions were, however he continued in his passing manoeuvre. The caravan could also see that the car behind him was not going to yield, but also continued to pass the tractor. Basically neither driver was going to give in to the other. As a result, both vehicles now side by side collided, very slightly. In fact, one screw on the side of the caravan scratched the car. However, this poor judgement by both drivers created an incident in which at one point there were three vehicles abreast of each other. All because both male drivers (both aged 50+) were too stubborn to give way as they thought they were in the right. Both drivers were issued a Written Traffic Warning for their careless actions, and are very lucky to not be going to Court. This is a stupid example of what can only be described as road rage, where two law-abiding, normally respectable, adult men had a brain fart and carried on like a couple of kids in a sandpit. Except instead of sand in their eyes they could have killed themselves, their passenger or someone else. Regardless as to whether or not you believe you’re in the right, if you can avoid a crash but knowingly continue your actions and as a result do crash, then you’re guilty of careless driving as well. Not to mention just plain stupid if you could have avoided crashing altogether.
Talking of stupid, I was recently on patrol near Twizel when I got a phone call from a local lass informing me that she had just been passed by three speeding motorbikes in the 50kph zone in Kurow. She gave me a brief description and I promised to keep an eye out should they come my way. Not long after, I see three motorbikes matching the description, heading north on SH8. I did a U-turn and noted that the two lead bikes had taken off, the third bike who had seen me beginning to turn was going nice and slow at 100kph. Noting that the two lead bikes were rapidly accelerating away I gave chase. Although they were modern powerful road bikes they obviously hadn’t heard of the speed the Omarama Cop has available, which is 299,250 km/s. Yep that’s the speed of radio waves! I called up me mate in Twizel who sat at the road works near Lake Ruataniwha and managed to stop the lead bike, while I dealt with the other rider who had been held up by slower traffic. The lead rider was clocked at 219kph when he became aware of my presence and took off. The rider I dealt with was caught at 143kph. He was smart enough to pull over. My man was issued a $610 fine and suspended from driving for 28 days. The gent who tried to get away is going to Court to explain his actions to the Judge.

That’s it from me, stay safe.

Senior Constable Nayland Smith
Sole charge Constable / Omarama / PO Box 101, Omarama 9448.
Phone:  (03) 4389559 / Ext:  34580 /
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