Roaming horse collides with car

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 13:46 28/07/2014

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Rural residents are being warned to secure their stock at all times after another serious Waikato road crash between a car and a horse.

A man was trapped inside his crumpled vehicle today after smashing into a horse in similar circumstances to the fatal smash that killed Matamata woman Joy Robinson in June.

Emergency services responded to the scene on Arapuni Rd shortly before 6am.

The driver was still in the vehicle when two fire trucks from the Te Awamutu Volunteer Fire Brigade arrived, senior station officer Lex Soepnel said.

''We used cutting gear to help assist getting him out.''

There were two men travelling in the car from Rotorua towards Kihikihi when the collision occurred - one escaped with moderate injuries while the driver was taken to Waikato Hospital via ambulance in a serious condition.

Soepnel said the horse was loose on the road and it died at the scene.

''There was extensive damage to the car. It's knackered, and that's before we got there.''

Judging from the damage to the vehicle, Soepnel said it appeared the horse slammed into the driver's side front pillar then crumpled the roof.

The dangers associated with stock on the road were illustrated when Matamata woman Joy Robinson was killed after colliding with a horse on Hinuera Rd on June 23.

"It was still dark at the time of the crash and it appears two horses have escaped from a paddock and been in the path of the westbound car,'' district road policing manager, Inspector Freda Grace said.

''One horse was killed in the collision while one of the occupants of the car suffered serious injury. The second horse was located down the road by responding Police and placed in a paddock."

Grace said while all the factors leading up to the crash were yet to be examined the incident served as a timely reminder to land owners to ensure fences adjoining roadsides were secure and for motorists to ensure their vehicle's lights were functioning properly.

Senior Sergeant Peter Simpson, of the District Command Centre, said animals on the road are bad news.

''People often die because animals on the road usually go through the windscreen and it's all over rover - stock on the road is something we all have to watch out for.''

In some cases, animal owners can be taken to court and face charges as severe as manslaughter.

Grace said if police can establish all the factors leading up to a crash then they can educate the public to hopefully prevent a repetition of what has occurred.

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"Just like how we ask all motorists to be fit to drive we ask drivers to ensure their vehicles are fit for the road. We also need property owners to ensure the integrity of their fences and gates. If all that is done then Waikato roads will be a safe place for all our community use and enjoy.''

Meanwhile, another crash early on Saturday morning in Paeroa showed how dangerous unfit drivers can be.

Grace said the crash is under investigation and police are awaiting the results of blood tests, but it appears speed, alcohol and a lack of wearing a seat belt all appear to have been factors in a 24-year-old woman suffering serious to critical injuries after her car hit a power-pole.

"Sadly, if proven correct, these contributing factors seem to mirror a similar crash in Hamilton on Wednesday where a car crashed into a tree after the driver had been drinking leaving two people seriously injured.'' 

- Waikato Times

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