Killed man acted heroically

Last updated 10:53 12/12/2013

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Hutt Valley

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A Lower Hutt man who died after his car careened down a bank at the end of his driveway acted heroically to turn the car away from his house.

John Philip Pryde, 54, had been driving into his property at Kaitangata Cres in Kelson when his four-wheel drive rolled down the steep driveway before smashing against a fence and plummeting more than 100 metres down a bank in May 2011.

In his findings released today, coroner Ian Smith said there were still unanswered questions about what exactly had happened as there were no witnesses to the accident.

The driveway at the house rose slightly from the kerb to reach a crest about five metres in, then dropped steeply.

It was possible Mr Pryde had stopped at the top of the driveway, perhaps to check the mailbox or collect his wheelibin.

When the vehicle was inspected after the crash the handbrake was found to not have been applied, so it was likely the 4WD had started to roll towards the house below after Mr Pryde got out.

Mr Pryde then tried to stop that from happening by trying to get back in the vehicle, and seemed to gain some limited control where he managed to steer it away from the house.

But he was unable to reach the brakes and fell under the vehicle, suffering severe injuries.

Mr Smith said while what exactly happened would never be know, it was clear Mr Pryde's quick thinking had prevented the car from smashing into the house.

''In my view it is clear that Mr Pryde became acutely aware of the problem, that of the vehicle careening down the drive, and acted extremely bravely to attempt to pull the vehicle up, or at least to steer it away from the house below.''

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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