Narrow road cost driver's life
The driver of a vehicle which plunged 140 metres down a steep hillside in the Marlborough Sounds last year died as a result of sustaining multiple cervical and thoracic vertebral injuries in the crash.
Timothy Shand was 63 when his Nissan 4x4 vehicle left Te Towaka-Port Ligar Rd in Admiralty Bay while passing a tractor cutting grass verges.
The driver of the tractor, which was operated by Marlborough Roads, pulled to the left of the narrow unsealed road to allow Mr Shand, a farmer who lived in Port Ligar, to pass.
While passing the tractor, the right-hand tyres of Mr Shand's vehicle went off the edge of the road, causing the vehicle to roll down a steep bank, before coming to a stop in a small stand of trees.
Mr Shand was thrown from the vehicle as it rolled and died at the scene.
In conducting his inquiry, Coroner Ian Smith considered a police file, witness statements a report from the Serious Crash Unit and post-mortem and toxicology tests.
According to the report from the crash unit, there were no mechanical faults with the vehicle Mr Shand was driving, however it concluded the piece of road was challenging, due to a relatively narrow construction.
The wear pattern of the road surface suggested it was used predominantly as a single lane road.
A raised bank on the landward side, and an extreme drop on the seaward side meant drivers needed to be aware of other traffic and accommodate them as best they could.
Coroner Smith had also received a report from Marlborough Roads highways manager Frank Porter, who said the topography of the road was steep and the road consistently narrow and winding.
The company periodically mowed and/or scrub-busted overgrown vegetation, however following the crash, it was determined that if the mower was lifted along the outer edge, it might provide a barrier which would naturally push traffic away from the road.
Neither speed nor alcohol were an issue in the crash.
The Marlborough Express