4-year-old left home alone

By Amy McGillivray

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A manager in his 40s who left his 4-year-old child home alone and then tried to evade a police checkpoint is one of 17 people facing drink-driving charges after a police crackdown.

The man, who returned a breath-alcohol reading of more than 900mcg of alcohol per litre of breath, was not the only one to take extreme measures to avoid breath-testing checkpoints during Labour Weekend.

A 21-year-old man was arrested after doing a u-turn on Turret Rd and driving against the flow of traffic on the wrong side of the road to avoid a police checkpoint on Saturday night.

The man narrowly avoided crashing and then abandoned the car on Haukore St before running away from the police.

He was caught and is facing dangerous driving charges.

Police said alcohol was believed to be a factor.

A man in his 30s also lied about his identity in an attempt to fool police having blown more than 600mcg in a breath alcohol test.

His real identity was uncovered and he was found to be a disqualified driver.

He now faces multiple charges and could go to jail.

Western Bay of Plenty Traffic Alcohol Group acting Sergeant Lee Stringer said those caught showed there was a misconception about who was committing the offences.

Mr Stringer said the charges were the result of the first weekend of Operation Profile.

During the weekend, more than 3400 drivers were stopped and tested for alcohol by the Traffic Alcohol Group alone.

Fifteen now faced various drink-driving charges and one third of the drivers processed had previous convictions for drink driving.

Police also impounded nine vehicles and suspended eight driver licences for 28 days due to the driver's alcohol levels exceeding 650mcg.

Five people wanted on court warrants were also arrested.

The police general traffic team caught other drink drivers. The highest reading was more than 900mcg. The adult limit is 400mcg.

Mr Stringer said the operation was aimed at increasing awareness of drink-driving, the presence of the specialist police squad and the risks of being apprehended.

He said the ultimate goal was to deter people influenced by alcohol from getting behind the wheel and putting themselves, their friends, families and the community at risk.

The reception from most people was positive and people appreciated the effort police were putting in to making the roads safer for all, he said.

Mr Stringer said it was important for parents to know what their children were up to.

"Please, please, please know where your children are going and staying this summer, don't be afraid to check up on them. I don't want to have to knock on your door to tell you they are not coming home.''

He also reminded drivers the costs of a taxi fare or driver service was minimal compared to the cost of court fines, legal fees, vehicle repair bills, insurance excesses, medical costs and funeral expenses that could be incurred if they killed someone while driving drunk.

Mr Stringer said targeting drink-drivers during the holiday period remained a high priority.

"Police welcome calls from the public regarding drunk drivers and treat such calls with a matter of urgency in order to further enhance road safety. If you see something, say something. Never tolerate a drunk driver.''

- Bay of Plenty Times

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