Family relief as alleged hit, run driver charged

By Sam Hurley

A relative of a 5-year-old critically injured in a hit and run on Tuesday night is relieved the alleged driver involved has handed himself into police.

Road Policing Sergeant Clint Adamson said police had arrested a 27-year-old man who willingly walked into Flaxmere station and admitted his role in the accident on Kingsley Rd, which left Kayzah-Shae Wairama critically injured. "The information given to us from the public helped us locate the man, which forced him to give himself up and also helped us locate the car."

He said the man would initially be charged with failing to stop and ascertain if there were injuries at a crash scene and said further investigations may lead to more charges against the Flaxmere local.

Kayzah-Shae's grandmother Lovey Winitana Orlowski was delighted with the news that someone had turned himself in.

"We are all just so relieved, that is what we wanted, we wanted him to hand himself in."

The 5-year-old's family was having sleepless nights thinking about the tragedy but felt a weight off their shoulders knowing the alleged driver had turned himself into police.

Kayzah-Shae was last night in a critical condition at Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital, where he has been since Tuesday night, with his father Raymond Wairama.

"It's taken its toll on me and the family, we've had some very sleepless nights," Ms Winitana Orlowski said.

Recalling the moments immediately following her grandson being struck down she said the care given to him by neighbours helped save his life.

"We were just sitting around the fire and then his brother came in and yelled 'mum Kayzah-Shae fell off his bike'.

"There was just blood everywhere, we were on the ground holding my moko, I was lying there holding his head and my clothes were covered in blood, there was blood all over the road.

"One man said he was just walking home from work and saw it all happen, he was a great help, he helped save my moko and I think he was one of the main witnesses, he saw the car and he saw it happen," she said. "It was a terrible scene."

She and the boy's mother Melanie Shillingford, a mother of seven who had only recently returned from hospital after giving birth, wanted to meet and thank the good samaritan.

Describing it as an unlucky and freak accident, Ms Winitana Orlowski, who is a Child Youth and Family worker, said drivers should be aware that sometimes kids just run onto the road.

"It happened so fast, kids just get on their bike and go out and play they don't think about these things. My daughter always locks the gate, but we couldn't close the gate that night because there was a van in the driveway."

She said Kingsley Rd was notorious for speeding motorists and urged people to slow down in family neighbourhoods.

"Sometimes cars come hooning around that bend.

"I hope the message gets out to other drivers to watch out for kids on footpaths and be aware and on the look out for these children, always be vigilant, take your time and look."

She said Kayzah-Shae, a student at Flaxmere Primary School had been placed in an induced coma at Starship Children's Hospital as medical staff attempted to alleviate the pressure and swelling around his brain. "He will be in the induced coma for the next three to four days - He is a little fighter, we know that he will pull through, he just wants to run around and climb up things, he's not afraid of fear."

Ms Winitana Orlowski said the entire family, including some from Australia, were on their way to Auckland after the young boy "took a turn for the worse" yesterday". The community had been overwhelming supportive of her family over the past few days and wanted to praise the police efforts in tracking down the alleged driver.

"The community and the neighbours have been wonderful ... they have given us food and money donations and we are so grateful. Everything has just piled up on my daughter ..."

Flaxmere Primary School and the Flaxmere Adventure Learning Centre have also given food donations to the family.

Serious Crash Unit Senior Constable Cory Ubels said the driver will appear in Hastings District Court on Monday charged with failing to stop and ascertain if there were injuries at a crash scene with further charges pending.

Mr Adamson said the vehicle seized yesterday afternoon in Raleigh Pl was positively identified as the vehicle in the accident.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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