Driver disqualified after running over children

By Kaysha Brownlie -
1 comment

A Hastings woman has been ordered off the roads for eight months, after confusing a car's brake with the accelerator and running over two young girls earlier this year.

Maylynn Tia Taefu, 22, appeared before Judge Allan Roberts yesterday in Hastings District Court.

She pleaded guilty to one charge of careless operation of a vehicle not on a road, causing injury - a charge that carries a maximum penalty of three months' imprisonment, six months' disqualification from holding a licence or a $4500 fine.

Police prosecutor Nigel Wolland told the court that about 6.30pm on February 12, Tia Taefu tried to move a relative's car which was parked in the driveway of her Flaxmere home.

It was not her car and she had never driven it before but wanted to park it elsewhere on the property.

As she got into the driver's seat two young girls - one of them her daughter, the other a daughter of a friend - made their way out of the house to the front lawn, just in front of the car.

Despite having difficulty doing so, Tia Taefu eventually managed to release the car's handbrake.

She then accidentally planted her foot on the accelerator, thinking it was the brake, which caused the car to "accelerate quickly", the summary stated.

"The vehicle ran over both the young children in front of her and came to rest against the side of the house."

Both girls were rushed to hospital. One was released uninjured but the second, a 3-year-old, received a "badly bruised ankle" which required her lower right leg to be put in a plaster cast.

After the incident, Tia Taefu admitted to police what had happened and was "extremely remorseful".

She told police she had never driven that car before and was unsure about how to use the handbrake.

Tia Taefu's defence counsel told Judge Roberts it was the first time her client had been before the courts.

She said her client was remorseful for what had happened and that she was able to pay a fine.

Agreeing, the judge said the defendant had no intention to run over the children.

On that basis, he sentenced Tia Taefu to eight months' disqualification from driving.

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