Runaway ute no threat to kids’


This ute came centimetres away from causing major damage to a Queens­town Primary classroom. 

The Toyota Hilux Surf was hoisted off the school property late yesterday after mysteriously rolling into this position on either Tuesday night or early yesterday morning. 

School caretaker Stuart “Podge” Cochrane says he arrived at school early yesterday to discover the vehicle on its side about 30cm away from classroom 11. 

The classroom and school boundary are adjacent to the Brecon Street public carpark, which services Kiwi Birdlife Park, Wakatipu Kindergarten and Queens­town Childcare Centre, Preschool and Nursery. 

Cochrane suspects it rolled down from the carpark. 

“There’re no skid marks, there’s no fancy wheelie marks or anything like that that I could see. I think it just rolled down, missed the kindy fence, missed the tree, took the gap in between and missed Room 11 by a whisker.” 

There’s also no sign of a driver being injured, he adds. 

“I checked it out to make sure there was nobody hurt inside it – which there wasn’t, fortunately. 

“The car’s locked, there’s no blood or anything untoward inside that I could see. I think it’s genuinely drifted off the hill and parked itself.” 

Because it happened overnight, “there were no threats to any children at all”, he says. 

The school has contacted police, but they were already aware of the incident, Cochrane says. 

Queenstown Primary is in the process of building a fence to continue along the boundary and is working with the Ministry of Education to secure funding. 

“To my knowledge there hasn’t been anyone fall over the bank in all the years I’ve been here,” Cochrane says. 

“But it’s time that a fence was put along there.”