NEWS

Well Done: Police

A family who had lodged a report against a “reckless driver” at a Community Police Post has won praises from the Commissioner of Police. Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho commended the Antonio family
29 Dec 2017 11:00
Well Done: Police
The minivan that the Antonio family had hired to take them from Suva to Pacific Harbour and back.

family who had lodged a report against a “reckless driver” at a Community Police Post has won praises from the Commissioner of Police.

Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho commended the Antonio family in Suva against such behaviour from drivers. The family had hired a minivan on Tuesday to take them from Suva to Pacific Harbour and back.

Commissioner Qiliho said: “In this case, the members of the family raised their concerns with the media and I am thankful for them as they encourage other people that there is help available for everyone along the roads.

“The family did the right thing by not leaving their lives in the hands of such a reckless driver and reporting the matter to their nearest station.

“I also compliment the officers at the Wainadoi Community Post who took charge and took the right action against the driver.”

Alfredo Antonio, who spoke to Fiji Sun, said:

“As soon as the journey back began, he was over speeding; going 100 kilometres per hour in the 60 kmph zones, and reaching up to 140kmph in 80kmph zones.

“Throughout the trip, he would overtake up to six vehicles at a time, even at bends and when there was oncoming traffic.

“This happened numerous times, and there were occasions where we escaped collisions with only seconds to spare.”

There were five other adults and one 11-year-old travelling in the vehicle on Tuesday.

Viti Mini Buses Association spokesperson Shalendra Subhag said: “We definitely do not entertain reckless driving as stated by the family. We put the safety and security of the families or passengers travelling.

“I believe the family took the right step taking the driver to the Police station because they feared for their safety instead of rushing back to Suva.

“If they cannot respect, provide security and safety for their passengers then the drivers should not be in this industry,” Mr Subhag said.

Mr Antonio further said: “Despite being warned several times to slow down and drive safely, he ignored us and continued to drive recklessly.

“Oncoming minibus drivers had flicked their headlights at him, supposedly to warn him of a Police checkpoint ahead (Navua). He slowed down before the checkpoint, but as soon as we passed it he sped up again.

“After continuing to ignore our warnings, we decided to force him to stop at the Wainadoi Community Post where we offloaded our luggage and filed a report.

“We then waited for an hour at the Wainadoi Police Post for relatives from Suva to come and pick us up in our private vehicles, because we did not want to continue the journey in that minibus.”

Mr Antonio said the minivan driver was then escorted to the Lami Police Station where they pressed charges; the minivan impounded, and his licence confiscated by officers at Lami.

“When we contacted the owner of Viti Mini, he was very cooperative and apologised and offered to refund us the fare which was supposed to be $80,” Mr Antonio said.

“We were told by the driver that the fare was $100 one way.”

Commissioner Qiliho is encouraging other members of the public to be brave and report such matters to the nearest Police station or post.

“We have encountered drivers who argue back but we do not believe them as the witnesses are there who had witnessed their driving,” Brigadier-General Qiliho said.

“People have every right to demand the driver to stop the vehicle, and to press charges when they are in similar circumstances.

“It’s crucial that everyone takes a stand against this behaviour because lives are at stake.

“The people who remain silent when they witness dangerous driving are actually major contributors to the problem of overspeeding and dangerous driving on our roads.

“Our responsibility is to stand up against this, because our lives and the lives of others around us depend on it.

“We have telephone lines, which members of the public can call and report any dangerous driving they witness.

“The members of the public have been calling in and reporting the matter to the Police Force and we immediately act on it by stopping the vehicle on the next check point and take the right action by issuing the infringements right away.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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