Driver averts further tragedy

A second head-on fatality in Taranaki was narrowly avoided by the quick actions of a driver swerving his vehicle to avoid a heavily intoxicated driver coming towards him at high speed, police said.

The two Hilux vehicles collided near Big Jim's on State Highway 3, north of New Plymouth, about 11.30am on Saturday but a direct head-on was avoided and both walked away with minor injuries.

Minutes later, two motorcyclists died in a head-on collision with a van near Normanby and six others were hospitalised in the multiple-vehicle crash.

Constable Kylie Brophy, of Waitara, said a 26-year-old New Plymouth man travelling northwards was seen to swerve across the road into the opposite lane. The second time he swerved - this time hitting the kerb - an oncoming Hilux driver attempted to avoid a head-on crash, but hit the passenger side of the other Hilux.

The northbound Hilux driver was found to be more than twice the legal limit, blowing 983mcg of alcohol per 100 ml of breath. He was charged with driving offences and will appear in court this week.

Taranaki Daily News