Woman owes life to her car

Last updated 05:00 31/01/2014
Paula Linn

SURVIVAL: Paula Linn, 53, can thank her car for being alive today after a man drove his car into her house when fleeing police.

Police say a fleeing driver who had sped off after ramming a patrol car came to a halt after smashing into two properties and landing on top of a parked car.
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The car came to a halt after smashing into two properties and landing on top of a parked vehicle, say police.

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Paula Linn's car spared her life at the expense of its own when an out-of-control driver smashed through her fence at 120kmh and crashed onto her Toyota Corolla.

The Ford Falcon, which was attempting to flee police, carried on into her bedroom wall at 2am yesterday.

Linn, a mother-of-two, was sound asleep until a "big huge bang" snapped her awake.

"I thought what the hell? It was scary," the shocked 53-year-old said yesterday.

The house "shook" on its foundations.

"It was the biggest thump I've ever heard. Then we heard someone running along the back of the house on the deck."

Her house sits below road level behind a high fence at the intersection of Bankwood and Clarkin roads in the Hamilton suburb of Fairfield.

The debris trail suggests the vehicle was airborne when it squashed Linn's green Toyota in the carport.

"My car stopped it from coming right through. Dad said if it had come through it would have taken out the bedroom. If my car hadn't been there that [Ford Falcon] car would have killed me."

Hamilton police described the driver's actions yesterday morning as "selfish".

Linn bore the brunt of an incident that began after police pulled the driver over on Wairere Drive for a routine stop shortly after 2am.

The driver pulled over and stopped.

But as an officer stepped out the man cut his lights and reversed into the patrol car's front bumper and onto the bonnet before racing off at speed, Hamilton City area commander, Inspector Greg Nicholls, said.

The crippled patrol car gave chase on to Hukanui Rd, then south on to Bankwood Rd before the Ford driver failed to turn at the T-intersection with Clarkin Rd and smashed straight through the roadside fence at number 152. It took out the dividing fence to number 150 and literally launched into Linn's world.

She said it was travelling at up to 120kmh.

The offending driver didn't stop and front up to his potentially fatal actions and fled from the crash scene, leaving one of his jandal's among the debris scattered over Linn's place.

"He wasn't at large for long," Nicholls said.

"About 20 minutes later a member of our staff manning a cordon noticed the offender and arrested him just as some of his associates arrived to try and spirit him away."

Nicholls said the arrest was little comfort to the two families whose lives were disrupted by the driver's selfish actions.

Lawyer Laura Bielby, 24, and Sophie Hulbert, 24, woke with a shock to find their fence demolished.

Linn now has to deal with an insurance wrangle to fix her house, carport and replace the written- off Toyota.

Her house is her pride and joy too.

"I've worked all my life to get this house.

"It's nearly 100 years old. It has destroyed all my original windows - you can't get that back. It's not fair. It's an invasion, it's just not right."

All of it was due to the "poor decisions made by a selfish 29-year-old man they didn't even know," Nicholls said.

He commended his staff for their actions in the face of such a confrontational incident.

The affected residents also praised police for keeping them informed and answering all their questions.

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The driver appeared in Hamilton District Court yesterday on assault with a weapon, reckless and dangerous driving, disqualified driving and failing to stop charges.

He was also charged with a non-criminal act. He inadvertently broke down a barrier between neighbours who had never spoken before.

Linn said she spent the evening next door drinking tea and talking with them. Later, once the sun was up, she gave them some chocolate and sweet peas because they were "so lovely".

- Waikato Times

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