Auckland taxi driver 'lucky to be alive' after rock thrown from motorway overbridge

Last updated 17:04 06/10/2017
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Balkar Singh holds the rock that smashed through his windscreen.

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The rock, thrown from a motorway overbridge, smashed through the windscreen and into the car, hitting Singh.
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Singh said he was "very lucky" the rock hit his shoulder and not his head.

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An Auckland taxi driver considers himself "very lucky to be alive" after a rock was thrown at his car from a motorway overbridge on Thursday afternoon.

Balkar Singh was driving a passenger from the city to the airport at around 85kmh when he saw three children throw rocks from the Bader Dr overbridge in Mangere.

He said the rock looked like a "bullet" as it came hurtling toward the car, shattering through the right corner of the windscreen and hitting him in the shoulder and chest.

"If it was a couple of inches further it would have hit me in the head."

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It's the latest in a string of similar incidents on the same bridge - and more widely in Auckland - over the past fortnight. 

On Saturday afternoon a vehicle was hit, and its windscreen smashed, by a piece of concrete thrown from the Bader Dr overbridge.

Singh said that although he was instantly in shock he was able to safely move the car over to the side of the road. 

He has taken the next few days off work and would be visiting a doctor on Friday afternoon to assess the damage to his shoulder.  

Auckland Co-op Taxi chairman Jacob Patel said they had reported the incident to police, but felt as though there wasn't anything else they could do. 

"This has to be stopped.

"It could be anybody, it could be you driving past next time," he said.

Inspector Dave Simpson said multiple police cars were sent to look for the people involved on Thursday afternoon but did not find them. 

Simpson said police were taking the matter very seriously, and warn those involved that their actions "will not be tolerated". 

Police had also increased patrols around motorway overbridges in the meantime, he said. 

Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley said hurling rocks at cars is endangering the lives of drivers, and action must be taken to stop it. 

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"Unfortunately, this is not a new issue or is the public outrage an overreaction," Shirley said. 

Members had reported an increase in rock throwing incidents and two trucks from the same company have had windscreens broken recently at Mangatawhiri and on the Kapiti Expressway, he said. 

Shirley said the Road Transport Forum were keen to work with NZTA, police and local councils to consider solutions to prevent people throwing things at cars in the future. 

"It's only a matter of time until somebody else is killed," he said.

In 2005, 20-year-old Chris Currie was killed after an 8kg concrete slab was dropped from an overbridge at Otahuhu.

Currie was driving four people from Taupo to Auckland when the concrete smashed through the window, killing Currie instantly and injuring his girlfriend and her two cousins.  

Ngatai Reweti, then 14, was jailed for four years for manslaughter. 

Those responsible could face charges of up to 14 years' imprisonment for endangering traffic under the Crimes Act. 

If you notice anyone throwing or dropping items from overbridges or from the roadside, contact police on 111.

- Stuff

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