Masterton dad in 160km/h chase

By Cherie Taylor -
43 comments
PURSUIT: Kuranui dairy farmer Karl Thomas Whittall led police on a high-speed chase through South Wairarapa to the hospital where his partner had just delivered their first baby. PHOTO/FILE
PURSUIT: Kuranui dairy farmer Karl Thomas Whittall led police on a high-speed chase through South Wairarapa to the hospital where his partner had just delivered their first baby. PHOTO/FILE

Driving dangerously past schools at speeds of 160km/h in an effort to evade police in an unwarranted and dangerous car has resulted in Karl Thomas Whittall being taken off the road for 10 months.

The 20-year-old dairy farmer from Pirinoa, who twice sped off from police in South Wairarapa in June, was eventually caught at Wairarapa Hospital, telling them he didn't stop because he was scared he'd be taken into custody and not see his newborn baby.

Police prosecutor Garry Wilson said that on June 9 police saw Whittall driving on State Highway 53 near Backwater Rd and tried to stop him.

He had got away after taking off at speed towards Martinborough, overtaking a school bus and truck on the Ruamahanga Bridge and narrowly missing a car entering the bridge from the opposite direction.

The next day about 10am he was seen travelling on Ponatahi Rd and had again taken off at high speed from police in rainy and foggy conditions, Mr Wilson said.

Pursuing police lost him again but he was seen by another patrol at the corner of Te Whiti and Gladstone Rds. Another pursuit ensued with Whittall driving at speeds of 161km/h past Gladstone School where children were due to go outside for morning tea, he said.

Two more police cars had joined the chase as Whittall headed into Masterton. He had overtaken three cars waiting at a Give Way sign and continued to drive at high speed past a kindergarten and two schools, Mr Wilson said.

Whittall was finally arrested when he stopped at Wairarapa Hospital. His car was found to have a non-operation order on it and had no current warrant of fitness.

"He said he was on his way to see his newborn baby and did not stop as he thought he would be taken into custody as a result of his manner of driving the previous day," Mr Wilson said.

Whittall pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to stop for police and three of dangerous driving.

Defence lawyer James Elliott said his client panicked when he saw police. "With a rush of blood and adrenalin he jumped in his car and drove at an inappropriate speed ... it's not his habit to drive like this."

Judge Bruce Davidson disqualified Whittall from driving for 10 months and ordered him to complete 120 hours' community work.

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