Charged mower driver been through rough time

By Sam Hurley

HORRIFIC: The scene of the accident at Kirkpatrick Park in Hastings. INSET: Four-year-old vicitm Uetaha Dahtanian Ransfield-Wanoa. PHOTO/FILE
HORRIFIC: The scene of the accident at Kirkpatrick Park in Hastings. INSET: Four-year-old vicitm Uetaha Dahtanian Ransfield-Wanoa. PHOTO/FILE

A tractor driver, who was yesterday charged in relation to the death of a 4-year-old boy in a mowing accident last year, has been through a rough time, his friend said.

Police yesterday summoned the 72-year-old council worker to answer one charge of reckless driving causing death in relation to the accident at Kirkpatrick Park on October 8 last year, which killed 4-year-old Uetaha Dahtanian Ransfield-Wanoa.

Witnesses at the time of the accident said Uetaha was killed when he was run over by the tractor-mower. Police also said at the time of the tragedy Uetaha was believed to have been at the Camberly park with older cousins before he was struck by the machine.

A friend of the 72-year-old driver told Hawke's Bay Today yesterday: "It's really horrible, that man has gone through enough...anyone who has gone through what he has, seen what he saw, would have already had a really rough time,"

The driver had been with the council for 13 years and was a senior driver.

He will appear in Hastings District Court on February 12 and an application for name suppression has been filed. Police refused to make further comment on the case as the matter is now before the court.

The family of Uetaha, affectionately known as "Bubbies", could not be contacted for comment yesterday, but at the time they described the little boy as a "bubbly, cheeky" toddler.

The 4-year-old was looking forward to starting at Kura Kaupapa o Heretaunga School in Hastings.

Yesterday Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule was reluctant to comment because the case was now before the court.

"It's sad for all those involved, it was a tragic event and has resulted in a very stressful time for the family."

He said the independent council investigation launched following the accident, probing council procedures surrounding the tragedy, is also expected to be returned shortly.

An independent investigator, Paul Reyneke of Adapto Limited, was appointed by council to report on the accident.

The council investigation was to establish the events and circumstances that led to the fatal accident, evaluate extant operating and health and safety policies and procedures and to identify and recommend any modifications or improvements that may be required; with a priority being to ensure occurrences of this or a similar nature do not occur again. Along with the council investigation, police and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment investigations were conducted in an effort to determine the

series of events that led to the boy's death.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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