River plunge follows hit and run

By James Ihaka, APNZ staff

A woman ran over her partner several times with a car in front of stunned onlookers at Hamilton shops before fleeing from police and crashing into the Waikato River today.

The man suffered serious injuries when he was hit by the car, Acting Detective Inspector Ross McKay said.

The incident began just before midday.

"At this time a male pedestrian has been run over by a car driven by his 44-year-old female partner at the Ohaupo Rd shops by the intersection with Normandy Ave,'' he said.

"The driver was described by witnesses as driving over the victim a number of times before fleeing, leaving the man with serious injuries.''

One witness followed the woman's car and called emergency services.

When officers arrived the woman drove her car over a 10m-high bank and into Waikato River, Mr McKay said.

Four police officers went in after her and, assisted by a kayaker, brought the woman to shore.

She was taken to hospital with moderate injuries.

A witness told the Herald he was swimming in the river when he heard a crash. He looked up and saw the car drive over the bank. The car flipped before plunging into the river.

The man said he ran to find the woman had managed to pull herself out of the car.

It was unclear what the woman's injuries are but Greg Mitchell, a boatie who transported her to waiting paramedics, said she had a number of cuts to her face and hands.

Mr McKay said numerous people were involved in rescuing the woman from the river. The car would be recovered from the river tomorrow.

"Sadly just seven days out from White Ribbon Week, today's incident also highlights the dangers associated with domestic violence and police urge anyone who feels unsafe in their home situation to seek help,'' Mr McKay said.

The scene where a woman drove her car off the bank into the Waikato River. Photo / Christine Cornege.
The scene where a woman drove her car off the bank into the Waikato River. Photo / Christine Cornege.

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