Shocking caravan tow sparks fireworks

By Kristin Edge

The dodgy towing set up where a chain was used to link a van and caravan together instead of a towball. Photo / Northland Police
The dodgy towing set up where a chain was used to link a van and caravan together instead of a towball. Photo / Northland Police

The rear of a caravan dragging on the road created a fireworks display that caught the attention of police officers who couldn't believe what they saw next.

Constable Guy Cunningham was on duty driving out of Kaikohe towards Okaihau when he spotted a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction about 7.10pm last Friday.

"There were sparks flying off the back because the caravan was dragging on the ground," Mr Cunningham said.

The van towing a caravan was stopped near the cemetery at Ngawha, on State Highway 12.

The officer said the caravan had no lights but it was when he spotted the method used to attach the caravan to the van that he was left shaking his head.

The back door of the van had been left open and a hole had been cut in the floor with a chain then looped through the drawbar of the caravan. There was no towball or coupling to connect the two.

Mr Cunningham said the man had collected the wreck of a caravan that day from a property on Puketona Rd and he was towing it to his house in Titoki.

Police escorted the man to the Pioneer Village, where the caravan was "green stickered," meaning it could no longer be towed and could only be moved using a transporter or trailer.

"In my 18 years of policing I have never seen anything like this before," Mr Cunningham said.

Asked why he had towed the caravan that way, the 48-year-old man reportedly said: "I've lived in the Hokianga too long."

Last year, two people were killed when two unlicensed drivers decided to tow a vehicle from Kawakawa to Whangarei using a flexible strop to link the two vehicles.

Lawrence Harry Mark, 28, and Heteraka Kawera Moetu, 25, were in the vehicles when they went to overtake another vehicle, just north of Whakapara, in the southbound passing lanes in the area known as Waiotu.

They hit an oncoming car and killed Kirihimete Paniora, 69, and Isaac Peters, 41. The speed limit for towing a vehicle by a non-rigid towing connection is 50km/h. During sentencing it was heard the men were travelling in excess of 100km/h.

When they appeared in Whangarei District Court in February this year, Moetu was sentenced to 18 months' jail and disqualified from driving for three years. Fines of $3305 were also written off.

Mark was sentenced to nine months' home detention and disqualified for two years.

- Northern Advocate

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