23 Oct 2016

Man charged over Whanganui hit-and-run

2:54 pm on 23 October 2016

A 61-year-old man has been charged over a hit-and-run that left Jesse Minnell, 24, with serious head injuries in Whanganui early yesterday morning.

Red Lion Inn on Anzac Parade in Whanganui

Police were responding to a fight outside the Red Lion Inn on Anzac Parade in Whanganui at the time Jesse Minnell was injured. Photo: Google Street View

A man is due to appear in the Whanganui District Court tomorrow on charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and driving while unlicensed and prohibited.

Police were dealing with a pub fight outside the Red Lion Inn on Anzac Parade when a car swerved into the crowd and hit Jesse Minnell shortly after 2.20am on Saturday.

The driver immediately left the scene in what was described as a late-model dark blue BMW.

Mr Minnell was flown to Wellington Hospital, where he is now in a stable condition.

Detective Senior Sergeant Neil Forlong said earlier that while police had been at the scene at the time, they did not manage to get the car's licence plate number.

Mr Minnell's parents were with him in hospital, where they said he had been in an induced coma with bleeding in two parts of the brain.

Family friend Des Attwell told RNZ he thought the officers at the scene should have been able to get the licence plate number.

"Just sounds like very poor training to me. I mean, it seems like a simple procedure - if you're pursuing a car, what's the first thing you do? See what the number plate is, call it in. It seems somewhat remiss."

Police were not responding to Mr Attwell's criticism, but confirmed that officers were being questioned as witnesses.

Local St John ambulance manager John Stretton said two crews were needed to help the injured man.

Red Lion Inn made no comment on the incident.