Offender sped through night-time road works

An Australian who reached speeds of up to 120kmh on Frankton Rd - a 30kmh restricted speed zone - last week, causing Fulton Hogan road workers to be pulled out of the way, has lost his licence for 15 months.

Managing director Stephen Anthony James Pinter (45) was also fined $800 for failing to stop for police, who had activated lights and sirens, and $1500 for reckless driving on December 5.

Prosecuting Sergeant Adrian Cheyne told Judge John Brandts-Giesen Pinter's rental vehicle was seen in the BP petrol station's forecourt at 1.40am with the engine off, but lights on.

A police patrol car had stopped to refuel and Pinter asked the officers where the toilet was.

He was directed to McDonald's, across the road, and left his vehicle unattended, implying he had a ``missing friend'' who was responsible for driving it.

The police parked a short distance away and saw Pinter drive out of the service station at 1.50am. He initially headed south on Kawarau Rd, past the bus layby where the marked police vehicle was parked.

The police pulled out and attempted to stop Pinter, but he made a right turn into a bus layby on the other side of the road and doubled back.

Sgt Cheyne said police activated lights and sirens just as the defendant sped up and turned left on to Frankton Rd at the roundabout heading at ``high speed'' towards Queenstown.

A pursuit was initiated. Officers estimated his speed to be ``well over 100kmh''.

A few hundred metres down the road, large signs warned that Fulton Hogan roading and traffic management staff were doing night-time road works.

Reduced speed advisories of 30kmh, from the usual 70kmh, were well displayed.

However, Pinter drove between 80kmh and 120kmh heading in to the restricted area where a stop-go staff member in high-vis clothing was standing.

He drove over a road cone in the middle of the lane and ignored the stop sign, swerved right and hit more cones and sped down the single lane.

``One staff member pulled two other workers out of the way to avoid them getting hit by the defendant's vehicle,'' Sgt Cheyne said.

As Pinter travelled through the roadworks he turned his headlights off, swerved back to the left and into the left lane past vehicles that had pulled over ahead to avoid a collision.

Police abandoned the pursuit due to the danger to the public. Pinter and the vehicle were not located.

The next day Pinter told police he was ``driving angrily'', he was ``distraught and upset'' and was ``trying to leave Queenstown after having an argument with his partner''.

He said he was unfamiliar with the vehicle and had tried to turn the lights down from full, had not seen the road works and that they ``weren't visual enough''.

He further stated he had ``not noticed'' the police car behind him with the lights and siren going and showed ``no remorse''.

Judge Brandts-Giesen said that he was upset was an explanation, but ``certainly not a defence''.

``The best thing to do is go for a long walk and sit down on a park bench perhaps, even if it is in the middle of the night.

``You, however, chose to drive and you drove extremely badly.''

Pinter was also ordered to pay $130 court costs on both charges.


 

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