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Friday, July 11, 2008

Only in New Zealand...Armless Man caught driving

Armless Tauranga driver Colin Raymond Smith got off a dangerous-driving charge after satisfying police he could steer well with his left foot, but a Florida man wasn't so lucky. Michael Wiley, an enthusiastic driver despite having lost both arms and half a leg in a childhood accident, lost his licence long ago and has reckless driving charges as long as your ... well, you get the idea. His most recent charges weren't driving-related. They involved a domestic assault, in which he used his head. See news abstract below

Armless man caught steering car with foot at 121km/h
Friday, March 24, 2006

A man with no arms was caught speeding at 121km/h yesterday - using one foot to steer and the other to operate the pedals.

The man told shocked police he was born with no arms and said he'd never held a driver's licence.

The 32-year-old unemployed Waikato man was clocked on State Highway 2 at Papamoa, Bay of Plenty, at 10.30am.

He was given a $170 fine and has been forbidden from driving. Police say he will probably also be charged with dangerous driving.

Senior Constable Brent Gray approached the driver's window, spotted a foot up on the dashboard and noticed the seat was reclined.

Mr Gray told colleagues he thought the man had an "attitude". But then he noticed his armless torso.

"He was pretty shocked by that, as you would be," acting Senior Sergeant for the road policing unit, Deidre Lack, told the Bay of Plenty Times this morning.

The armless speedster told the stunned highway patrol officer he had been driving for years, without any issues.

Ms Lack said she had spoken to several officers with lengthy careers and none had heard of anything remotely like it.

She had nothing against people with disabilities who drove motor vehicles, but had absolutely no sympathy for this speeding driver.

"Obviously driving at a speed like that, arms or not, you're just waiting for an accident. You're asking for an accident at 120km/h, whether you've got arms or not. Look at the risk he was posing."

The incident was a particularly unusual example of the sort of ridiculously dangerous driving that police encountered while on patrol, she said.

Ms Lack had no idea how the man had driven for years - as he alleged - without being caught.

Tauranga double below-the-knee amputee, Pat Barry, said he was amazed to learn the man had been driving so long without being caught.

"For obvious reasons it was good the police stopped this man when they did before he killed himself or someone else, but there are avenues for this man to go to, to seek funding to get his car converted and modified, and quickly get lessons so he can obtain his licence to drive."


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