Kids without seatbelts

By Sam Hurley

Tracy Waihape, who had been travelling from Gisborne to Napier, was due to appear in Wairoa District Court yesterday. Photo / File
Tracy Waihape, who had been travelling from Gisborne to Napier, was due to appear in Wairoa District Court yesterday. Photo / File

A Napier mother has "shocked" police by allegedly fleeing from officers when they discovered four unrestrained children during a vehicle inspection, and later found three more in the boot under a cargo cover.

Constable Andrew O'Sullivan of Wairoa Police said he was alerted to a black Subaru stationwagon by a RoadSafe Hawke's Bay spotter on Achilles St, in the northern Hawke's Bay town on Tuesday.

Upon inspection, police claim to have found Tracy Waihape, 39, was transporting a two-year-old, a three-year-old and two 14-year-olds unrestrained and in non-compliant car seats that were not secured to the body of the car.

When checking the vehicle, police discovered the warrant had expired in 2011, registration had expired in 2012 and Waihape was unlicensed and had been forbidden from driving since 2010.

"I told her that we would be impounding the car and then I stepped behind the car because there were a few trucks waiting to pass, and that's when I noticed her winding her window up."

Waihape then allegedly fled the scene, and took the constable on a 2km pursuit that reached speeds of 65km/h, he said.

After later stopping, she was allegedly involved in a "struggle" during her arrest.

With Waihape in custody and in the back of a patrol car, police impounded the Subaru, but as they began searching the vehicle they discovered three more children, aged 4, 5 and 10, under a cargo cover in the car's boot.

Mr O'Sullivan said he was "shocked" to find so many children unrestrained in a car, during a scenario he had never witnessed before.

He said Waihape was the mother of six of the seven children, and a grandmother of one.

She was charged with driving while disqualified, failing to remain at a checkpoint, failing to stop and resisting arrest, Mr O'Sullivan told Hawke's Bay Today yesterday.

Waihape, who had been travelling from Gisborne to Napier, was due to appear in Wairoa District Court yesterday morning to face the charges but she failed to show and a warrant for her arrest was issued.

It's understood she would also be served with infringement notices for allegedly carrying the seven children in the car in unrestrained and unapproved car seats.

The RoadSafe operation discovered 12 restraint offences in Wairoa in about one hour.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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