Man charged over high-speed crash

The Northland Age - - Local News - By Peter de Graaf

A North­land man has been charged with six counts of reck­less driv­ing caus­ing in­jury after a hor­ror high­speed crash that left a mother and her 4-year-old son fight­ing for their lives.

The 31-year-old Mo­erewa man is also charged with fail­ing to stop to as­cer­tain in­jury — more com­monly known as a hit-and-run — after he al­legedly fled the crash scene at the bot­tom of Mo­erewa’s Turntable Hill.

He is due back in the Kaikohe Dis­trict Court on March 19 when he is ex­pected to en­ter a plea.

Auck­land woman Stacey Faaliga was driv­ing home from a fam­ily re­union in the Far North with her three sons on the evening of Oc­to­ber 21 last year when po­lice say her car was struck head-on by an “out-of-con­trol car trav­el­ling at ex­ces­sive speed”.

The al­leged of­fend­ing driver’s BMW was con­sumed in a fire­ball. Po­lice say he fled on foot, leav­ing not just the in­jured mother and chil­dren, but also two com­pan­ions in his own car. He handed him­self in at Kawakawa po­lice sta­tion the fol­low­ing morn­ing.

Faaliga had to be cut from the wreck­age by vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers and spent al­most three weeks in in­ten­sive care with mul­ti­ple frac­tures, in­clud­ing two which ex­posed bone. She was only dis­charged from hospi­tal last week — three and a half months after the crash — and still needs to use a walk­ing frame.

Her youngest son, aged 4, is still re­cov­er­ing from se­ri­ous brain in­juries. Her older sons, and the pas­sen­gers in the other ve­hi­cle, were also taken to hospi­tal.

Res­cue he­li­copters from Whanga¯rei and Auck­land were needed to trans­port the in­jured to hospi­tal.

Po­lice be­lieved the of­fend­ing driver had been drink­ing but he could not be tested for al­co­hol be­cause he was not lo­cated un­til the fol­low­ing day.

The crash oc­curred on the south side of the bridge at the bot­tom of Turntable Hill, just in­side the town’s 50km/h zone.

PIC­TURE / SUP­PLIED

The head-on smash at the bot­tom of Mo­erewa’s Turntable Hill last Oc­to­ber left six peo­ple in­jured, two of them crit­i­cally. The al­leged of­fend­ing driver fled on foot.

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