NZ Local News

Avondale Santa parade: Adult, children pulled from car and assaulted after vehicle rolls into pedestrians

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Ambulance staff tend to an injured person after a BurgerFuel car swerved into a crowd at the Avondale Santa Parade. Photo / Michael Burgess

An adult and two children were pulled from a car and assaulted at the Avondale Santa Parade after the vehicle rolled into two people.

Relieving Auckland City District Commander inspector Jacqui Whittaker said a vehicle that was part of the parade appeared to have experienced a mechanical malfunction and rolled slowly into two pedestrians who were standing in front of the stage.

The pedestrians were moderately injured.

“Unfortunately, a small group of people took it upon themselves to retaliate, and three people – including two children – were pulled from the vehicle and assaulted,” Whittaker said.

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“Three people received minor injuries but were not transported to hospital.”

Overall, six people were injured.

Police were working to identify those responsible for the assault and determine what occurred.

“We understand this was an unsettling event, where multiple people have become injured, and not the end to the parade which was wanted. However, police want to send a clear message – please do not take matters into your own hands,” Whittaker said.

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“As this incident demonstrates, something may not be what it seems to you at first, and others stepping in can result in unnecessary injuries and further distress.”

Tensions were high after the Great North Rd incident, which happened about 11.45am, and it is understood the crowd jumped on the bonnet of the car and smashed their fists on it and that Māori wardens had to hold them back.

The car had two children sitting in the back seat and had BurgerFuel branding.

NZME’s Michael Burgess was at the parade and said two purple BurgerFuel muscle cars were travelling down Great North Rd.

“They were revving a lot. As they got to the end, [one of the drivers] tried to do it again.

A BurgerFuel car collided with a brass band at the Avondale Santa parade. Photo / Michael Burgess
A BurgerFuel car collided with a brass band at the Avondale Santa parade. Photo / Michael Burgess

The Avondale Santa parade was stopped after a BurgerFuel car collided with a brass band. Photo / Michael Burgess
The Avondale Santa parade was stopped after a BurgerFuel car collided with a brass band. Photo / Michael Burgess

Burgess said several people were knocked over in the car.

“Everyone descended on his car, you know.”

Burgess said the parade was then stopped before Santa had appeared. Three ambulances were at the scene.

BurgerFuel says it will work with police to ascertain what happened. Photo / Michael Burgess
BurgerFuel says it will work with police to ascertain what happened. Photo / Michael Burgess

“There were lots of kids lining the streets, lots of great floats had come past and then … there was just this sickening sound, the screams,” Burgess said.

“Just the shock in the air and the reaction was a mix of just shock, anger and disbelief, everyone standing there, it’s just something you just don’t see.”

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A member of the band told the Herald a woman who was injured was hit from behind while filming the band.

Nikki Soons, BurgerFuel NZ head of brand and marketing, said: “We are shocked to hear about the incident that has occurred involving one of the BurgerFuel promotional vehicles and we are very concerned for anyone injured. We do not yet know what caused the accident and are currently gathering all the information. We have a BurgerFuel representative at the scene and will be working with police to ascertain what has happened.”

Paramedics treated six people.

A spokesperson said: “Hato Hone St John were notified of a motor vehicle incident in Avondale at 11.43 and responded three ambulances, one rapid response unit, and one manager to the scene.”

A BurgerFuel car collided with a brass band at the Avondale Santa parade. Photo / Michael Burgess
A BurgerFuel car collided with a brass band at the Avondale Santa parade. Photo / Michael Burgess

The driver of the car was seen getting into a police vehicle. A police spokesperson told the Herald they were speaking with the driver.

“Initial information suggests the car experienced a mechanical fault prior to the crash, inquiries are ongoing to determine the full circumstances of the crash.”

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It’s the suburb’s first Santa parade and was set down to run from 11am to 2pm with food and music.

Parade floats were to leave from the Avondale Racecourse at 11am, travel up Elm St to Rosebank Rd, and to Great North Rd where participants were to join in on the festivities in the main street below Avondale Primary School.

BurgerFuel has a fleet of custom, classic and muscle cars from between 1965 and 1972 that are used for various events.



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