Car ploughs into hairdresser's salon

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 15:30 28/12/2013

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A mother's instinct prompted a woman getting her hair cut to dive to grab her baby from its pram just as a car came crashing through the walls of the Hawke's Bay salon today.

The owners of Havelock North hairdressers Village Headcourters are in shock after the car plunged straight into the building salon, sending customers scattering and destroying their shop.

Witnesses have described hearing a sound like a ''bomb'' as the car careened down a set of stairs and through a barrier into the back of the salon in the Village Court shopping area at about 12.30pm today.

Haley Hunsinger witnessed the car take out chairs and tables outside the juice bar where she was working as it went shooting into the salon's back entrance, across the courtyard from her. 

Village Headcourters co-owner Coreen Russell was busy with a client when chaos hit.

''There was a huge crash and we just didn't know what the noise was - it sounded like a bomb going off,'' she said.

''We didn't know whether it was an earthquake or what and suddenly it came through the shop.''

Clients and hairdressers ''leaped'' out of its way as the car took out a wall and basins where luckily no-one was getting their hair washed, Russell said. 

A woman who was getting her hair done acted fastest of them all as she swept her baby out of its pram just in time, Russell said.

''Everyone was in such shock but she just went and grabbed her baby and she got it out of the way of the car.''

Meanwhile Hunsinger raced to check on the driver and called for an ambulance. The driver was taken to hospital.

The damage to the building was ''severe'' but the salon's owners sympathised with the driver who appeared in ''absolute shock'' following the crash, Russell said.

Havelock North Volunteer Fire Brigade deputy fire chief Kevin Lay said the car had destroyed about ''forty per cent'' of the shop and a barrier in the Village Courts separating the shopping enclave from the road.

The car had come to rest between two interior walls, Lay said.

It was towed out from the wreckage as a crowd of about 50 people looked on, Hunsinger said.

Lay said he saw the crowd huddle to comfort the mother and baby who left shortly afterwards.

Everyone, including the salon owners, were astonished no one had been hurt, Lay said.

''They said they were frightened for their lives and were so relieved. They were off to buy Lotto tickets, I think.''

The salon's co-owner Angelique Davies arrived a short time later to survey the damage and said they were confident insurance would take care of it.

There had been about six customers in the shop at the time, she estimated. The plan now was to secure the salon, which had its entire back wall missing and its stock exposed.

But everyone was just relieved that no-one was hit by the car, Davies said. ''That's the main thing.''

A St John Ambulance spokeswoman said one person had been taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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