Stolen tractor driver tasered after low-speed police pursuit on SH1

Publish Date
Monday, 16 April 2018, 3:44PM

In the early morning darkness Northland couple Mark Ottaway and his wife Pam pursued a stolen tractor along State Highway 1.

Mark was driving while Pam, the passenger, was on the phone to police giving regular updates.

But forget dangerous speeds in excess of 100km/h by the fleeing vehicle.

It was a more leisurely paced affair with the 25 horse-powered Kubota B2710 tractor, fixed with a grader blade and counter weights on the front, only able to reach a top speed of 12km/h.

After a 90 minute low speed chase, that eventually involved three police vehicles, the tractor driver was tasered and handcuffed on the footpath in Wellsford — 20km from the pursuit start point. Normally the trip down State Highway 1 in a car takes abut 24 minutes.

The orange-coloured Kubota was stolen from a shed at the Kaiwaka Sports Association complex, where Mark works as the groundsman and is the club's vice chairman, just after midnight yesterday .

Police have confirmed a 15-year-old boy had been referred to police youth aid section on a number of allegations in relation to the alleged theft and chase.

With the tractor safely back in the shed by 11am the same day, Mark revealed the details of what could possibly be New Zealand's slowest police pursuit.


for more on this story, check out the Northern Advocate