Driver worked for car rental company
Employee crashes car
A lucky escape by two Englishmen living in Queenstown who careened into a 30 metre ravine and ended up in Wye Creek two weeks ago has turned into a case resulting in serious driving charges.
The 24-year-old driver is now facing dangerous driving causing injury and unlawful conversion of a motor vehicle after police investigations revealed he was an employee of a rental vehicle company, and took the vehicle unlawfully.
Acting sergeant Phil Hamblin said the driver was allowed to drive work vehicles for work purposes but ‘‘went beyond his authority, taking the vehicle home for the night and allegedly drove south to pick up his passenger in the small hours of the morning’’.
After allegedly picking up the passenger on the morning of Wednesday, April 30, he crashed, injuring himself and the passenger. He will appear in the Queenstown District Court on Monday.
Fighting in the streets
A series of public fights kept Queenstown police busy early on the weekend.
Sergeant Tracy Haggart said two German men were arrested for fighting outside The Find in the early hours of Sunday morning after one was denied entry and began pushing the doorman, resulting in a shoving match. The other male jumped on the back of the doorman.
The 23 and 24-year-olds were arrested and released on a pre-charge warning.
About one hour later an 18-year-old from Invercargill was arrested after approaching a group of males in the male and apparently punching one in the mouth for no reason.
On Saturday morning three men were arrested for fighting on Camp St, at the top of the Mall. They all lived in Queenstown and were aged 18, 19 and 21. Another man was not caught at the time.
A 29-year-old New Zealander living in Australia was arrested at Queenstown Airport for fines incurred in 2003. Haggart said the man’s fines were $2200 and an arrangement was made for them to be paid.
Three people were arrested in relation to the theft of jackets from the Minus 5 Ice Bar at the Steamer Wharf. The trio had visited the bar and walked off with the jackets. They were followed by staff to their accommodation on Lake Esplanade and police were contacted.
Two 21-year-old German males were arrested and charged with theft. A 21-yearold female was arrested for obstruction and released on a pre-charge warning.
Thieves hit Central Otago buildings and yards
Opportunistic thieves are continuing to plague Central Otago. Sergeant Simon Paget, of Cromwell Police, said between April 10 and May 5 a large number of railway sleepers were stolen from an Ortive St address. Overnight on Thursday, May 8 cobblestones were stolen from a business in the McNulty Road area.
‘‘The offenders are mobile in the Central Otago area targeting industrial or commercial operations and stealing anything of value that is easily accessible.’’
Business people and tradesmen should ensure buildings and yards were secured and valuable items were stored securely, he said.
‘‘The wider Central Otago area is also currently experiencing a spate of diesel thefts with several trucking companies being targeted in the Maniototo area.’’
Motorist escapes injury in rockfall crash
Wet weather has caused problems for motorists on Central Otago roads.
Paget said about 4.45pm on Wednesday last week a driver escaped injury after crashing in the Lindis Pass area.
A large rock had slipped onto the road and in an effort to avoid it she lost control of her vehicle and rolled down a bank.
In a separate incident, about 5pm on Thursday, a vehicle heading towards Queenstown crashed near Pigeon Rock, Kawarau Gorge.
The driver lost control approaching a moderate right-hand bend, crossed the centre line and hit a bank. He was not injured.
Off the wagon
A woman who ‘‘fell off the wagon’’ after the death of her husband 15 months ago has been sentenced to four months’ home detention for driving with excess breath alcohol.
In the Alexandra District Court on Thursday, Judge Stephen Coyle said Melanie Albrecht-Thompson, 50, cleaner, had rejoined Alcoholics Anonymous, was undergoing grief counselling and had surrendered her car since the incident at the New World supermarket on March 1, when she was found to have a breath alcohol reading of 1020mcg.
Five previous drink-driving convictions during the past 21 years, should have had Albrecht-Thompson sentenced to 14 months’ jail, but the judge said the court could not be blind to the circumstances of her husband’s death and what had ensued with his estate.
It was a case of balancing between personal circumstances and the need to protect the community, the judge said. She was also disqualified for 20 months.
Andrew Walter Cox, 48, of Cromwell, was fined $200 for disorderly behaviour and $500 for intentional damage in Cromwell on April 18.
Wayne Alan Gordon-Glassford, 44, of Milton ‘‘needed to make some major changes in his life’’ the judge said, fining him $200 for offensive behaviour at Cromwell on April 19 and sentencing him to 100 hours’ community work for possessing cannabis on the same day.
Kali Annan, 21, was fined $200 for intentionally damaging a window on April 4.
Sinead Terri Booth, 18, shedhand, of Cromwell, was sentenced to 150 hours’ community work for possessing cannabis and utensils at Cromwell on March 3.
She was also sentenced to a further 120 hours’ community work in lieu of fines, to be added to the 75 hours she already was serving.
The judge reminded Booth community work was not a box of chocolates that she could pick and choose from.