The aftermath of any crash can be hectic and stressful, even one where no one is seriously injured. Words are exchanged and sometimes they get heated as those involved try to establish what happened and who was at fault. That was the situation two elderly women found themselves in six months ago. They came to Tauranga for a dental appointment and wound up being involved in a crash with another vehicle in Welcome Bay. But the situation took a turn for the worse when a future council candidate got involved. His actions landed him in court. Samantha Motion reports.
A council candidate has admitted a charge of assault against an elderly woman in what she says was a "road rage" incident.
David Wayne Grindley, 53, of Welcome Bay pleaded guilty in August in relation to the incident. He says he was discharged without conviction and ordered to pay the victim $750 reparation.
He says it was "a push", but the victim, aged 75, says from her perspective it was a "violent" shove that sent her staggering back.
Grindley is standing for Tauranga City Council in the Te Papa-Welcome Bay ward.
When his victim - who the court says has name suppression, though she says she is not aware of it - learned Grindley was running for election, she decided to speak out.
"I just felt that the public need to know,'' she told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend.
In her view, it was questionable whether he was the "right type of candidate for council".
According to court documents supplied to the Bay of Plenty Times, police claimed the victim was involved in a car crash with another woman in Welcome Bay on April 15.
The woman in the other car was Grindley's daughter. When he learned of the crash, he walked to the scene.
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The victim was writing out her details on a piece of paper on top of her phone, leaning on the other car.
"The defendant grabbed the victim and wrenched her right shoulder back and said: "Don't write on her f***ing car", police claimed.
"The victim tried to show him that she had a soft telephone cover underneath but he pushed her forcefully in the chest, which made her stumble backwards."
The victim, who had previously had surgery and radiation for breast cancer, told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend yesterday the "really hard" and "violent" shove was "very, very painful."
From her perspective, "It was an unprovoked attack on a 75-year-old woman. It's road rage."
At the time the victim was with her friend, aged 73. The pair were in Tauranga for a dental appointment.
The friend said she saw the shove and said it sent the victim "staggering back".
"It's just lucky she didn't fall on her backside.
"I called out 'be careful she's due for back surgery next week'."
Both women reported - and the police summary of facts claimed - Grindley then told the victim to "send your old man round and I'll give him a smack".
The victim said she and her friend left. "We weren't going to stand around and argue with him."
She called the police and her insurance company.
Grindley was initially charged with male assaults female but the charge was amended.
The Bay of Plenty Times yesterday unsuccessfully tried to clarify with the court what the exact charge was.
Yesterday Grindley told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend he pushed the victim because she was in his face.
"I pushed her once to get her away from me because she was right up in my personal space screaming at me.
"She walked up, screamed at me, was spitting in my face and the charge is me just pushing her away from me and that's it, just once."
The victim denied she was yelling or screaming, she said she was trying to show him her phone.
"I did not provoke him at all."
Put to him that he pleaded guilty to assault, Grindley said: "So it would go away".
"Is this even a story?"
Questioned as to his choice to push an elderly woman, Grindley said the appropriateness of that decision in the circumstances was "a matter of opinion".
"If someone is in your face and yelling and screaming, age comes into it?
"It's a matter of opinion."
Asked what he thought voters would think, he said: "That's up to them to make up their own mind."
"If I turned around and dropped her or punched her or whatever, yeah, hell yeah, I should cop it. I pushed a person in my personal space away from me."
The Bay of Plenty Times has requested clarification from the court of Grindley's sentence.
In court documents, Grindley's occupation is listed as "process worker".