Man fined as toddler detected behind wheel

A Mount Gambier man has been fined more than $700 after he sat a toddler on his lap in the driver’s seat and allowed the child to steer the vehicle around a car park.

Just after 2pm on Sunday, Mount Gambier police attended a car park area in the Valley Lakes precinct on Davison Drive following reports of a vehicle “driving erratically over kerbs in an uncontrolled manner”.

When patrols arrival, they were surprised to find a SUV being steered by a 2-year-old child who was sitting on the lap of the man sitting in the driver’s seat.

A police spokesperson said the child was not wearing a seat belt and “not surprisingly not a particularly good driver”.

“At the time there were a number of other vehicles and families in the area, many of whom also had young children,” the spokesperson said.

“However luckily no persons were injured as a result of this parent’s behaviour.”

The police patrol stopped the vehicle and spoke to the 40-year-old man, who was issued an on the spot fine for failing to ensure passengers under 16 years were wearing a seat belt or approved child restraint and drive with a person on lap, a total of $765 which also attracted three demerit points.

In other police news, a man was caught drink driving after being stopped in Mount Gambier.

About 10pm on Friday police saw a Mitsubishi utility on North Terrace mount the kerb while attempting to turn left. Officers stopped the vehicle and breath tested the driver.

The driver, a 55-year-old man from Mount Gambier, allegedly returned a blood alcohol reading of 0.222 – nearly five times the legal limit for a full licence holder.

He was issued with a 12 month immediate loss of license and his vehicle was impounded for 28 days.

He will appear in the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court at a later date.

Mount Gambier police station Officer in Charge Senior Sergeant Natasha Elliott said the driver put other road users at risk.

“This driver’s complete disregard for other road users could have resulted in devastating consequences not only for himself but other road users,” she said.

“Lives lost on our roads can often by attributed to drink driving, which this driver disregarded on this occasion.”

Meanwhile, police have also moved to remind residents about squatters using unoccupied and vacant residential properties within the greater Mount Gambier region.

Property owners are being encouraged to be vigilant given the current seasonal weather change, which may result in people seeking refuge from the cold and wet weather.

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