The terrifying moment when a skateboarder crashed at high speed in front of a car that had been towing him has been caught on film.
The 14-year-old Tauranga boy was knocked unconscious when his head hit the road, causing abrasions to his face, arms and legs. His right collarbone was also broken.
The man driving the car - 44-year-old Brendan Michael Dowd - pleaded guilty to reckless driving causing injury in Tauranga District Court this week.
Outside court, the head of road policing in the Western Bay, Senior Sergeant Ian Campion, described Dowd's behaviour as "the height of stupidity".
Dowd was sentenced to 60 hours' community work, disqualified from driving for a year and ordered to pay $500 to his teenage victim for emotional harm.
Dowd, his two sons, and the victim had been skateboarding in Tauriko Industrial Park on October 4 last year.
The group were filming and photographing each other skating, when someone suggested Dowd could tow the boys behind his Honda Fit car.
Each of the boys took four or five turns being towed at speeds of up to 50 km/h before letting go and free-wheeling to a stop, with Dowd braking behind them. On at least one run, Dowd towed two of the boys at once.
When the crash happened, Dowd was towing the boy at 50 km/h when the boy got the speed wobbles and fell off his board in front of the car - rolling several times - and narrowly missed being hit.
Dowd had to brake hard to avoid hitting the boy.
Judge Thomas Ingram told Dowd he accepted this was not deliberate recklessness, but rather a case of "foolish" use of a motor vehicle where injury was likely to occur.
"I'm rather surprised to see a man of your age before the court for engaging in something like this. I can understand perhaps you didn't think through the possible consequences of loss of control at 50 km/h, but at 50 km/h or anything like it if someone falls off they're going to get hurt. It seems to me this was an accident waiting to happen," he said.
Judge Ingram also took into account Dowd's significant contribution to the community, working with young people encouraging them to engage in "worthwhile and healthy activities".
The victim's father, who did not wish to be named, told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend his son was on the mend, having been out of action for three months as a result of his shoulder injury, and the boy's mother had to dress his facial wounds for at least a month.
The father said he did not hold any grudge against Dowd and agreed the incident was not a case of deliberate recklessness.
"But when I was told how my son was injured, I was shocked. I just couldn't believe another adult, particularly a parent, would engage in this sort of dangerous activity. Someone Dowd's age should have known better. It was an accident waiting to happen and my son could have been more seriously hurt or even run over by his car.
"We could easily have been talking about a death here."
The man urged other parents to talk to their children about the incident and discourage them from copying the dangerous behaviour.
Mr Campion agreed.
"This offending was the height of stupidity and did end in significant injuries for the skateboarder, which potentially could have been far more serious. It is totally unacceptable behaviour.
"This type of activity has the potential to go pear-shaped, as it did in this case, and I urge adults and children not to engage in this high-risk activity, which can end in serious injury or even death."
When approached, Dowd declined to comment on the incident.
Meanwhile, at the skatepark at Bayfair yesterday, skateboarder Roman Goodwin said being towed behind a car happened occasionally in the skateboarding world.
"I've done it but I haven't fallen off. I didn't go that fast. People don't normally get hurt doing it," he told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend.
"I don't think [the driver] should have gone that fast though, he shouldn't have let it happen,"
Roman's dad, Nathan Goodwin from Papamoa, said the driver's sentence was fair.
"There's a difference between having fun and being stupid ... and I think he was going a bit fast.
"He probably deserves what he got."
Skateboard shop Backdoor Surf Skate Snow manager Renee Parsons was not surprised to hear about the accident and said that, in the summer, sometimes people were towed behind cars down the Mount main street.
"It's crazy but it's just something that young people do. We definitely do not condone it, no way, but these things happen sometimes."
A staff member at North Beach in Mount Maunganui said skateboarding was very popular with teenage boys. However, more girls and adults were getting involved in the sport.
- with Genevieve Helliwell