Driver charged over schoolgirl’s death

Police were called to Pigeon Mountain Primary School in Bucklands Beach when a child was struck by a vehicle in the school car park on March 23. Times photo Chris Harrowell

Police have charged the driver of a vehicle that fatally struck a girl in an east Auckland school car park.

The girl, five-year-old Joanna Kong, later died from her injuries in hospital.

She was struck by a vehicle at Pigeon Mountain Primary School in Bucklands Beach on March 23.

Counties Manukau Police say a 77-year-old man is scheduled to appear in the Manukau District Court on May 6 charged with careless driving causing death over the incident.

Emergency services were called to the school at about 8.40am on March 23 after being notified of a serious crash involving a vehicle and pedestrian.

The injured girl, whose family lives in Bucklands Beach, was taken to Starship Hospital in a critical condition.

She died in hospital with her family by her side on March 28.

“Police extend our condolences to her family at this incredibly difficult time,” Counties Manukau East Police senior sergeant Anson Lin said at the time.

“We have been providing the support we can to the family as well as the wider school community, who have been greatly impacted by this incident.”

Counties Manukau Police’s serious crash investigation unit was notified of the incident and examined the scene shortly after it happened.

Police officers were at the school in Wells Road when the Times visited the scene.

Yellow cordon tape had been placed around a car park at the front of the school and access to the entrance blocked off.

Investigators were examining a silver Mercedes-Benz sedan parked on the grass adjacent to the car park.

Police revealed on March 24 that a 77-year-old man had been forbidden to drive following the incident.

“Any further decisions around his eligibility for driving will be for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to make,” police said.

Pigeon Mountain Primary School principal Ian Dickinson and board of trustees presiding member Mark Eades posted a public message on the school’s website on March 28.

“We are supporting and helping the [girl’s] family where possible,” they said.

“Our sympathies and love go out to her family and we will be striving to provide them with any support they need.

“During this difficult time, we are all going to express a range of emotions.

“We therefore should expect, try to understand, and support a variety of emotions and behaviours.

“We should support discussion about the event, the feelings it gives rise to, and ways of responding.”