Out of control car with caravan miss traffic
An out of control four-wheel-drive and caravan careered across the highway between traffic and into a ditch near Shannon on Saturday.
Constable Charlie Rudd said the northbound Nissan Terrano and caravan crossed the centreline in a gap between southbound vehicles on State Highway 57.''
It could have been worse, it could have hit any car on the way back, the road's pretty busy. ''A group of five Porirua touch players returning from a tournament in Palmerston North were next in the southbound line of vehicles and saw it unfold in front of them at about 5pm, he said.
Northern United rugby player Daley Harper was in the front passenger's seat when it happened and said it was a ''crazy'' experience seeing the caravan and car hurtle towards them.
He said the car and caravan crossed the centreline about ''two seconds'', or 100 metres, in front of them as they were travelling at about 100kmh.
''They were taking up both sides of the road, so they were sliding sideways and then the caravan just whipped around in front of us and went into the ditch. The car ended on its left side in the ditch.
''We couldn't open the driver's door... it must have been jammed, so one of the boys jumped through the back door, got inside and we ended up getting the driver's door open and pulling the man out.
''We asked who else was in there and he said his wife."
She was unconscious, and with water coming through the car from the ditch and the car smoking, they pulled her out as fast as they could.
''We were just freaking out, we were hoping she wasn't dead.''
They lay the woman on the side of the road with a pillow under her head until the medics came.
"She had cuts on her head and arms, probably from the windscreen shattering.
''Luckily there was no lamppost around there... they would have been gone.''
An off-duty nurse and policeman helped attend to the couple before paramedics arrived, said Mr Rudd.
He said the Paraparaumu couple, in their 70s, were uninjured, but the two-berth 1960s caravan was a write-off and their vehicle was also badly damaged. The contents of the caravan were strewn around the scene, and the caravan fell to pieces when it was loaded onto a trailer.
He said the couple were heading off on holiday to Palmerston North when the man lost control going down Laws Hill, about 5km south of Shannon.''I think speed was a factor . th. th. he probably went down too fast and lost control from there.
''He tried to pick up a bit of pace to get control, which I can see, and then the caravan's come around and the back's just fishtailed and flung him to the right and he's crossed the centreline and ran into a ditch.
''It was lucky because he went in between two vehicles.''
He praised the actions of the touch players.
''A lot of people saw what they did and clapped them out when they left.''He said all those on the scene, including firefighters and paramedics did an outstanding job.The Nissan driver could possibly face a charge, he said.