Rescuers lift car off injured schoolboy

PASSERSBY PRAISED: Bystanders help the boy hit by a car on Queen St in Richmond yesterday afternoon.
PASSERSBY PRAISED: Bystanders help the boy hit by a car on Queen St in Richmond yesterday afternoon.

Three passersby ran to lift a car off a young boy after he was hit at a Queen St pedestrian courtesy crossing in Richmond, Nelson.

Jordan Stirling-Rowling, 10, said he and the boy, also 10, were returning home from school shortly after 3pm yesterday when the accident happened.

Jordan said he saw the driver not slowing down at the courtesy crossing and he hesitated, but as the other boy was riding his push scooter he continued rolling into the vehicle's path.

"He didn't see it coming because he goes across there every day and he just expected it to stop," Jordan said.

The boy had been dragged about six metres from the crossing and was lodged under the car when Subway assistant manager Patrick McDougall, Coffee Shack co-owner Keith Simpson and an unidentified woman lifted it off him.

"He was completely under there. I thought he was under the wheel," said Mr McDougall. "I hope I never have to see that again."

The accident happened on a raised crossing, known as a courtesy crossing, by the ASB Bank.

St John Ambulance team leader Jon Leach said the boy had been treated at Nelson Hospital for bruising and abrasions. He was discharged later that evening.

"It sounds like he's got off very, very lightly," said Mr Leach.

He said there had been potential for the boy to sustain up to four different points of injury as he was hit, thrown off the bonnet on to the ground and possibly dragged.

"Talking to people there I'm not sure that the driver was aware the boy was under the car so if people hadn't waved her down it could have been worse."

He said the people who lifted the car off the boy did a "perfect job" because they didn't try to move the boy who may have had serious spinal or internal injuries.

Police said this morning that inquiries into the incident were continuing.


NZTA said while courtesy crossings were not official pedestrian crossings, "overall they had an excellent safety record, and drivers were still obliged to use due care and consideration to other road users, including pedestrians using a courtesy crossing".

Spokesman Andy Knackstedt said courtesy crossings generally worked well because their design ensured slower vehicle speeds and encouraged drivers to be courteous to pedestrians to allow them to cross - "despite no legal obligation to yield".

"As with all types of crossings it's important that pedestrians take care and check carefully to ensure that the way is clear (or that vehicles have stopped) before stepping out onto the crossing. Similarly, drivers should always be vigilant, slow down around crossings and watch out for pedestrians - especially children," he said.

- Source: NZ Transport Agency