What would you do to protect your neighbours from a ''frightening'' driver? Kiri Gillespie talks to a man who has been charged after using his daughter's Ford Focus to ram into another car. A vigilante has been charged after smashing his daughter's car into another vehicle in an effort to stop its driver fleeing a suburban street after earlier crashing into a property.
But Michael Head has vowed to fight the dangerous driving case "come hell or high water" and says he was simply trying to protect his neighbours from a speeding driver who kept driving away and returning to their quiet cul-de-sac in Maungatapu, Tauranga.
The bizarre chain of events that Head described as ''craziness'' unfolded on November 14 about 5.30pm.
Head, a Tauranga businessman, was getting dressed when he heard what turned out to be a Subaru car approaching his Taipari St home.
"I saw this vehicle and thought, 'Oh my God, what the hell is that coming down our street?' It just flashed past me. I talked to my neighbours afterwards and we estimate it was going at least 110km/h. He was really flying."
Head feared the driver would run out of room and "sure enough, he did".
The driver careened up and over a footpath and into one of the street's properties, crashing into a tree centimetres from a brick home about 20m from the road.
The driver then slowly drove away in the damaged vehicle he was driving as worried residents gathered to see what had happened, Head said.
"A couple of minutes later, while we were chatting, well bugger me if he doesn't come back down the street again. Then he comes back a third time and a fourth time. I'd say he was doing at least 110km/h."
Head said he called police, who told him they were also receiving calls from at least six other people about the driver, who returned again while Head was on the phone.
"I thought, 'Why would you come back when you've just crashed into someone's [property]?' There's something seriously wrong if you keep coming back where all the neighbours are upset. I thought: 'This is now getting frightening'."
Head's wife and daughters were home and neighbours had become scared because no one could understand the driver's actions and what he might do next. One neighbour was carrying a 4x2 piece of wood because he had become so incensed, Head said.
After the fifth time, I thought 'someone's got to do something about this'. I've called the cops, they aren't here, someone's got to do something.''
He admitted he was so intent to trying to contain the situation, he did not consider potential risks such as the driver having a gun.
Head had got behind the wheel of his daughter's Ford Focus when the man returned a seventh time. Head followed him and rammed his car in an unsuccessful attempt to him.
"I thought, 'I'm going to block him from getting out'. I wanted to stop him from doing any more craziness and ... hopefully, make him come to his senses. He might have just been able to stop for long enough for the neighbours to say, 'Oi, you're not going anywhere'."
The driver fled the scene and Head drove back home. The impact created about $3000 worth of damage to the Focus.
His daughter, he said, had forgiven him for the damage to her car, which he'd bought her a few weeks ago. His neighbours had also thanked him for his actions.
Head said he was surprised when police charged him with dangerous driving later that day.
"All I was doing was trying to protect the neighbours."
Head is expected to appear in Tauranga District Court on Monday.
Head said he and his wife had been in Melbourne on December 21, 2017, when a driver rammed pedestrians with his car by Flinders Street Station. Head has also been first on the scene of a fatal crash in Mexico involving a driver travelling the wrong way down a motorway.
This latest incident in his neighbourhood had "hit quite close to home" and he was worried the driver would end up travelling the wrong way down the nearby exit from State Highway 29A.
There were no skid marks on the road yesterday but a deep gash into the driveway and broken tree remained.
The occupants of that property were not home but a neighbour said Head had done the right thing.
"The way he [the Subaru driver] was driving was extremely erratic and very dangerous."
The neighbour, who spoke on condition they were not identified, said he and his wife heard the Subaru speed past before a huge thump.
He and other neighbours ran out to help, thinking there had been an accident but were surprised to see the damaged car coming back the way it came, before coming back again and again.
"Sooner or later some property or person was going to get injured or damaged, who knows? Somebody had to stop him."
Police eventually found the alleged driver, who initially stopped but then allegedly fled when an officer approached the vehicle. A pursuit began and the vehicle was spiked.
A police spokeswoman said the driver continued on for some time before eventually stopping.
A 22-year-old man was arrested and charged with failing to stop when followed, failing to remain stopped, and careless driving. He is due to appear in Tauranga District Court on December 9.