Lucky break at crash

18:50, Feb 14 2013

A man who drove a campervan into a ditch near Picton about 4am yesterday had a lucky break when an ambulance crew saw the accident.

St John operations team manager Tony Cronin said the campervan crashed on State Highway 1 at Mt Pleasant, south of the Picton Elevation.

A Blenheim ambulance was parked off the road waiting to assist a Picton ambulance taking a patient to Wairau Hospital, in Blenheim, when the Toyota Hiace campervan crashed.

St John paramedic Jude Breeze had driven from Blenheim and was parked at the bottom of the Elevation waiting for the Picton ambulance.

"We saw the dust in the air and realised straight away there had been an accident," Ms Breeze said.

The paramedics found the driver conscious and alert. They called emergency services and waited for police and the Fire Service to arrive.


It is believed the man was driving from Christchurch to Picton to catch an early-morning ferry and police said it appeared he fell asleep at the wheel.

The campervan appeared to have hit a concrete abutment at full speed.

Picton chief fire officer Wayne Wytenburg said the driver was trapped by the steering wheel. It took firefighters 30 to 40 minutes to cut the steering wheel away and move him out of the van.

The driver had serious chest injuries and was treated at the scene by the two ambulance crews, and taken to Wairau Hospital.

A hospital spokeswoman said yesterday the man was in a stable condition.

The Marlborough Express