Five lucky to get ambulance, not hearse

"The car's ended up upside in a paddock."

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 07:41 17/12/2012
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BLANTON SMITH
A serious crash on Porikapa Rd on Saturday night put five people in hospital.

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Alcohol is being investigated as a factor in a serious crash that put five people in hospital.

A 19-year-old man remains in Taranaki Base Hospital in a stable condition in ICU following the crash on Porikapa Rd, south of Okato, on Saturday night.

He was the driver of the Mitsubishi Lancer that took out about 35 metres of farm fence and ended up upside down in a paddock about 8.45pm, injuring his four passengers.

They were all treated and have been discharged from hospital.

Constable Robert Schaare said alcohol was being investigated as the cause of the crash.

"He's come along a straight piece of road and failed to take a moderate bend and left the road and gone down a bank," Mr Schaare said.

"The car's ended up upside in a paddock after going through a farmer's fence."

Mr Schaare said it could have been a lot worse.

"Those kids are lucky really, everybody's gone in an ambulance and not a hearse."

Mr Schaare caught two drunk drivers in New Plymouth on Friday night - a woman, in her 30s, had a breath alcohol level of 490 micrograms, the legal limit is 400mcg, while a 19-year-old male blew more than 200mcg, the limit for drivers under 20 is zero.

Sergeant Shane Hurliman, head of the region's Traffic and Alcohol Group, said it had been a quiet weekend for the unit.

Checkpoints around New Plymouth on Friday and Hawera, Stratford and New Plymouth on Saturday night did not catch any drunk drivers.

However a raft of tickets had been given to drivers for breaching their licence conditions and unwarranted and unregistered cars.

Mr Hurliman said police would continue to target drunk drivers.

"They are still out there," he said.

"It is the nature of it, you get fine weather, everybody is out at work shouts and the rest of it and some people make the wrong decisions."

Mr Hurliman said police aimed to cover as many areas as possible but could not be everywhere at once.

"I guarantee that for every one we catch there will be ten others that we don't.

"We have just got to get out there and spread the net as far and wide as we can. If we had greater staffing resources and we were able to cast a wider net, I'm sure we would catch more," he said.

Tag caught a man in his 40s with a breath alcohol level of 616mcg near New Plymouth's clock tower on Thursday night.

Meanwhile a driver who sped off from a Tag checkpoint on December 8 has been caught.

The driver was stopped on Devon St West and raced off, towards the central business district, after police asked him to pull over so his licence could be checked.

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Mr Hurliman traced the registered owner, who was a passenger in the car that night, and found him with the alleged offender on Saturday.

The pair didn't go quietly though.

"They tried to shoot away and there was a short pursuit," he said.

The driver was charged with failing to stop and had his car impounded for 28 days, while the man who sped away from police the week before was charged with dangerous driving. Both men will appear in the New Plymouth District Court on January 16.

- Taranaki Daily News

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