A Dunedin toddler was a passenger in a car which allegedly
reached speeds of 170kmh during a police pursuit on
Wednesday, police say.
A 30-year-old Amberley man picked up his 2-year-old son from
the boy's daycare facility in Dunedin about 2.30pm, as agreed
with the boy's mother.
However, instead of returning the boy home the man began
driving towards Christchurch, Southern District Command
Centre deployment co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Brian Benn
Police were contacted by the child's 26-year-old mother about
She was concerned about the boy's welfare, Snr Sgt Benn said.
Dunedin police were able to contact the man on his cellphone
and he told them he was driving towards Christchurch. Dunedin
police then contacted Christchurch, Snr Sgt Benn said.
There were no family court orders in place before the
incident, he said.
Senior Sergeant Malcolm Johnston, of Rangiora, told an online
news website that the man was seen by police north of
Christchurch about 7.30pm. He was allegedly driving about
The man threatened to harm himself, and police had concerns
for him and his son, he said.
Police followed the car at a distance and arrested him at the
house of a family friend in Amberley, he said.
''We were just thankful that they arrived safely ... The
driver was incredibly unpredictable and wound up to the point
that we didn't want to put any more pressure on him at all,''
Snr Sgt Johnston said.
''It had the potential for a real tragedy.''
Snr Sgt Benn said the child was unharmed and had been
reunited with his mother.
The man was served with a five-day police safety order after
the incident, he said.
The man will appear in the Christchurch District Court on on
July 19 on charges of dangerous driving.