Crashes put 3 in hospital

Three people are in Dunedin Hospital following two serious car crashes in Central Otago at the weekend.

An 18-year-old man is in a critical condition with head and chest injuries after his 4WD double cab ute crashed off the Ettrick-Raes Junction road at 1.30am yesterday.

Sergeant Andy Reed said the man was the sole occupant of the vehicle and appears to have been travelling south when his vehicle drifted off the road and crashed through a fence before hitting a tree.

The man, who lives and works on a Central Otago farm, was taken by ambulance to Dunedin Hospital where he remains in intensive care. Mr Reed said conditions did not allow for him to be airlifted from the scene.

The accident was attended by Alexandra police, Miller Flat and Roxburgh volunteer fire brigades and Roxburgh St John.

The road was closed for up to two hours after the crash.

Meanwhile, a 17-year-old woman and a 60-year-old female relative are in Dunedin Hospital with serious injuries after the vehicle they were travelling in hit a rockface 1km south of Alexandra on State Highway 8 on Saturday afternoon.

Senior Constable Mike Colligan said the vehicle, which was being driven by the 17-year-old, left the road before coming to rest in a precarious position about a metre above a culvert. He commended the "outstanding" work of volunteer firefighters who responded quickly and managed to winch the vehicle into a safer position so both women could be cut from the vehicle.

Mr Colligan said police and the victims had been extremely lucky to have the expertise of a doctor, two nurses and the paramedics of two ambulances which were coincidentally passing at the time.

"Everyone was just right there and got in boots and all. You couldn't have asked for any better help. They say timing is everything and we are certainly indebted to all who helped," he said.

The Southland Times