Mower driver admits charges over 4-year-old's death

By Sam Hurley -
Uetaha Dahtanian Ransfield-Wanoa died in October in the tragic tractor-mower accident.
Uetaha Dahtanian Ransfield-Wanoa died in October in the tragic tractor-mower accident.

A Hastings council tractor driver has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death a 4-year-old boy in a horrific mowing accident last year.

The 72-year-old man, who has interim name suppression until his sentencing, appeared in Napier District Court this morning and entered a guilty plea to driving a motor vehicle dangerously causing the death of Uetaha Dahtanian Ransfield-Wanoa.

Crown prosecutor Clayton Walker opposed the elderly man's name suppression and said: "On behalf of the family, they do feel the name of their young child has been unfairly published while [the accused] has not had his published."

The tragedy occurred at Kirkpatrick Park in Hastings on October 8 last year.

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

The family of Uetaha, affectionately known as "Bubbies'', have 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.

The 72-year-old driver, who worked for the Hastings District Council, will next appear for sentencing in July.

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

Hastings District Council is also being prosecuted over the death by the Government's workplace safety agency, WorkSafe New Zealand.

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