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Hit-and-run arrest made

Police have worked the hit-and-run case relentlessly since James August [below] was injured on May 22. PHOTOS/FILE

67-year-old woman to face court after 28-day investigation
Victim still recovering in hospital

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Sadness and relief were the emotions expressed by the August family after they received news that a 67-year-old woman was arrested on Thursday in relation to the hit-and-run injuring of 42-year-old James August on the morning of May 22.

Wairarapa Police said the Carterton woman was charged with failing to stop or ascertain injury after a crash and was released on bail to appear in Masterton District Court next Thursday.

Failing to stop carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

August’s mother, Tira August said, “You don’t expect to hear that the driver was that age, in my head I had expected to hear something else.

“I am sad for her and my heart goes out to her.

“But she didn’t stop, and my son nearly died and that is the facts.

“My focus is on my whanau and James’ children.

“We need to heal, and he is healing and that is what matters to us now.”

After the case was highlighted on TVNZ’s Police Ten 7 programme last Thursday night no more leads were forthcoming, but police confirmed they had identified a few vehicles on CCTV footage that had not been ruled out and forged on with the investigation.

Detective Sergeant Dean Cadwallader said on Thursday, “A number of detective and road policing experts have been working on the case since the incident on 22nd May.

“After viewing hours of CCTV footage and working closely with ESR around forensic evidence obtained at the scene, we identified a vehicle of interest to the inquiry.”

A search warrant was executed in Carterton on Thursday morning, and the vehicle was seized and the woman arrested.

“The team have worked extremely hard to establish and explore the facts in this investigation not just for James’s family but also for the wider community,” Cadwallader said.

August was found unconscious on State Highway 2 between the Taratahi Hotel and Kent Street about 1.45am on May 22 after being run down while walking home after a night out.

He was flown to Wellington Hospital’s intensive care unit with life-threatening injuries.

Despite intensive media coverage, police had until Thursday struggled to solve the case.

Tira August thanked the police for all they had done, including organising a Masterton Maori elder to hold a special karakia [prayer] at the site where her son was hurt.

“The family are very grateful to the police,” she said.

“I really believe there is a way forward now and this is what I am focused on. I am bringing the aroha to the family and scooping everyone up and moving forward.”

August is still recovering in hospital having suffered multiple fractures.

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