A 5-year-old boy injured in an alleged hit-and-run in Flaxmere yesterday has been transferred to Starship Children's Hospital in Auckland where he is in a critical condition.
The boy, who was hit by a car while riding his bike down a driveway and on to Kingsley Rd, was taken by St John Ambulance to Hawke's Bay Hospital. His condition changed from serious to critical and he was flown to Starship.
When Hawke's Bay Today arrived at the scene yesterday, a family member of the boy said they had come outside to see the boy sprawled on the road.
"We were all inside and then we just heard a bang, so we all rushed outside and he was just lying on the ground screaming.
"We didn't want to touch him because we didn't know how badly hurt he was - by then we couldn't see the car at all."
St John District operations manager Stephen Smith said paramedics arrived to find the boy bleeding on the road with lacerations to his face, body and arms.
Hawke's Bay road policing sergeant Clint Adamson said the car was headed towards Diaz Drive and struck the boy in a dimly lit area, with no witnesses to the crash.
He said a gathering crowd of neighbours may have frightened the driver into fleeing the scene.
"It's possible the driver was not at fault as the boy was coming down the driveway on his bike, however he did stop and pull into Peary Crescent and stop - people had obviously heard the noise and come out of their homes which may have scared him off.
"It was right in between two street lights, so the timing couldn't have been worse, the lighting is pretty poor but not uncommon for a street like this ... it appears to be a low speed accident but if the driver was going any faster it could have been much worse."
He said some neighbours claimed the car sounded as if it had suffered some damage from the crash as it drove away.
Witnesses describe the vehicle as being a matte black two-door car.
"Given that the vehicle stopped down the road it is clear that the driver knew that they had hit something and police strongly urge the driver to come forward and talk to police about what happened," Mr Adamson said.
"As well as the vehicle potentially having some damage to the front of it, it is likely the driver will be upset at the thought that they have struck a young child. It is likely that family and friends will notice a change in the behaviour of that person."
Police would like to talk to the driver and ask that anyone with information on the identity should call the Hawkes Bay Police on 06 8730500 or the Crimestoppers Line on 0800555111.