Volunteer firefighter guilty of careless driving

By Georgina Campbell, Newstalk ZB

Judge David Wilson handed down the verdict at Wellington District Court this afternoon. Photo / File
Judge David Wilson handed down the verdict at Wellington District Court this afternoon. Photo / File

Volunteer firefighter John Klaphake has been found guilty of careless driving.

Last year Klaphake ran a red light and crashed into an SUV on the way to a house fire in Newtown.

Judge David Wilson handed down the verdict at Wellington District Court this afternoon.

He says Klaphake's actions were careless and made a substantial contribution to the crash and the injuries sustained by the driver of the SUV.

Immediately after the verdict was handed down Klaphake's lawyer made an application for the judge to consider special circumstances.

Following the decision, Klaphake said he would never drive an emergency service vehicle again.

"Even though you may be taking due care, there are a lot of circumstances that are way beyond your control.

"I just don't think I will be wanting to put myself in that position again."

Klaphake said he received next to no support from the New Zealand Fire Service during the ordeal.

He said there should have been support through the whole judicial process.

"After all we are essentially paying to do their job."

Klaphake said some of his fellow firefighters would no longer enter intersections on a red light when driving in emergency situations.

Volunteer firefighter Adam Rawson is one of them.

Rawson said he was about to embark on training to be a driver but today's decision has put him off.

"I drive my personal vehicle to work every day, so if I can't do that, it affects my job."

- Newstalk ZB

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