Woman crashes car into Kapiti council HQ

'Panicked' driver causes chaos

KAROLINE TUCKEY AND JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 17:58 27/06/2014
smash
KAROLINE TUCKEY / Fairfax NZ
The car smashed through a wall.
The car
Police are still investigating the accident.

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A driver has crashed her car into three others then into the council chambers of Kapiti Coast District Council’s revamped headquarters. 

The crash happened hours after the chambers had been packed with about 80 staff.

Constable Jason McFarlane said no one was injured in the smash, at about 4.45pm on Friday in Paraparaumu. 

 It appeared the driver had panicked after an initial crash on Rimu Rd.

‘‘She was travelling north on Rimu Rd and she’s rear ended a car there by the [pedestrian] crossing [outside the council building].

‘‘She’s lost control of the vehicle and come into Iver Trask Pl, colliding with the vehicles and then gone into the council offices.’’ 

The woman’s car missed heavy steel beams outside the building, stopping with the bonnet sticking about 1.5m into the building. 

The driver was shaken but ‘‘fine’’ after the crash, McFarlane said. 

She was the sole occupant, and the two cars hit in Iver Trask Pl had been empty at the time, he said. 

He was not sure if there had been pedestrians nearby when the incident unfolded.

The car crashed through the northern wall of the council chambers, into the public gallery.

Mayor Ross Church said the chambers had been filled with staff during the day of the crash, including the area where the car smashed through the wall.

‘‘We were lucky that nobody was in there. Because in the morning they had a staff meeting and I think there were about 80 staff in the room, and all those chairs were full [in the public gallery where the car hit]. So she could have really badly hurt or killed somebody because she came well into the building. About a third of the car was into the building.’’

The council reopened its headquarters in March last year after an about $8.1 million revamp that only kept the skeleton of the old building.

Church, owner of a classic car business on Kapiti Rd, said he was not onsite when the crash happened but was called by staff and arrived several minutes later.

‘‘It was actually quite amazing to think how she got there. It’s such an unusual accident, you wouldn’t think of someone going straight sideways in this little lane into our building. It was a really weird accident.’’

On Thursday the chambers were used for a council meeting to approve the council’s annual plan, and in the morning an occupational health and safety meeting for staff.

The driver was breath tested at the scene, and had not been drinking, and police were investigating the crash.

McFarlane said it was likely two of the four vehicles involved would be written off.

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- Kapiti Observer

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