Drunk driver sends school into lockdown

Photo / File photo
Photo / File photo

A drink-driver who admitted speeding at more than 90kmh around two Alexandra schools and two early childhood centres as children were arriving told police he had been drinking all night and was driving to a shop to buy cigarettes because the shop near his home was "too busy".

The incident led to the Terrace School in Alexandra going into "lockdown" mode on Friday after Nathan James Hokianga, 31, presser, of Alexandra, sped into the school grounds while fleeing police.

He pleaded guilty in the Alexandra District Court yesterday to four charges - driving while disqualified, driving with a breath-alcohol level of 753mcg, operating a vehicle recklessly and failing to stop for police.

Judge Dominic Flatley convicted him and remanded him in custody to April 4. The facts summary said police signalled Hokianga to stop at 8.50am on March 1 outside Dunstan High School for a driver licence check, but he accelerated on to Royal Tce, reaching a speed of more than 90kmh, then into Chicago and Marslin Sts, driving through an intersection at 90kmh, then past an early childhood centre.

Hokianga sped into the grounds of the Terrace School, where 380 pupils, staff and parents were gathering at the start of the day.

His actions prompted a "lockdown" at the school. The defendant fled on foot and was caught by police hiding nearby.

"The actions of the driver demonstrated a reckless disregard for the safety of the public," the summary said.

It was a high-density traffic area, with the high school, primary school and two early childhood centres nearby. The school lockdown caused "anxiety and stress".

Hokianga told police he panicked when signalled to stop because he was a disqualified driver. He had been drinking all night through to 7am and was driving to a shop to buy cigarettes.

He lived within 100m of a shop, but that one was "too busy".

A large hunting knife and 16g of cannabis were found during a search of the defendant's vehicle.

- Otago Daily Times

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