Parking officer allegedly run over

The driver of an SUV who allegedly knocked down a Dunedin City Council parking officer yesterday after being issued with a ticket, then drove into the officer as he left the scene.

The driver immediately drove to the Dunedin Police Station to confess. Council regulatory services manager Kevin Thompson said the 61-year-old driver began arguing with the parking officer, Greg Watt, after receiving a $40 ticket for parking on the footpath in Bow Lane, off Castle St.

Mr Watt then began taking photos of the illegally parked vehicle, standard practice for parking officers, when the driver allegedly ‘‘gave the officer a couple of nudges, before running him over''.

The front of the SUV allegedly knocked the officer and his bike over, dragging him for several metres, Mr Thompson said. Mr Watt's steel-cap boot was torn in the incident.

‘‘The guy never stopped - just drove straight to the police station.''

The officer, who was wearing a bright day-glo vest and helmet, was taken to the Urgent Doctors for a check-up. He was diagnosed as being ‘‘bruised and shaken''.

‘‘He could have been seriously injured . . . This is an example of road rage and it is shocking,'' Mr Thompson said.

The 250cc scooter, which weighs more than 150kg, and is worth about $10,000, was badly damaged. Acting Senior Sergeant Chris George, of Dunedin, said the driver came to the police station immediately.

He was remorseful, but ‘‘that sort of behaviour can't be condoned'', Sen Sgt George said.

Earlier this week, another parking officer was abused and his riderless scooter set in motion by a passerby. The scooter hit a pedestrian.

Mr Thompson said parking officers were often abused verbally and physically.

All officers were trained to deal with the unexpected and ‘‘they know when to walk away from potential incidents''.

Despite the incidents, the council was not planning to review the safety of its officers.

- A man will appear in the Dunedin District Court on charges of dangerous driving and failing to stop to ascertain injury.


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