Teenager returns to accident spot
A West Coast teenager who was critically injured in a car crash that killed his best friend has returned to the spot where his life changed forever.
Peter Wayne Gleeson, 17, was killed when the car he was driving crashed in Kaniere-Kowhitirangi Rd about 1am on June 22.
Senior Sergeant Tim Crawford, of the West Coast police, said the car veered off the left-hand side of the road and hit a power pole, knocking it down.
Initial indications were that speed and alcohol were a factor, he said.
Passenger Ricky Mahuika, 17, was flown by helicopter to Christchurch Hospital with head, lung and rib injuries, and he was put in an induced coma.
The schoolboy's mother, Kim Mahuika, said he was discharged from hospital last weekend.
When they returned to Hokitika, her son wanted to stop at Gleeson's house and then the scene of the crash.
''He wanted to go out there and that was really sad. He needed to see it.''
Parts of the car were still on the side of the road, which was hard to look at, she said.
They laid flowers beside the pole, she said.
''He can't remember the car at all. I'm just really thankful for that.''
When Ricky got into a car for the first time since the accident, he held on to the door tightly.
''He was scared to be in the car,'' his mother said.
Ricky has five fractured ribs and his balance, co-ordination and short-term memory have been affected.
Mahuika said her son was having physical therapy, but they were not sure when he would return to school.
Gleeson's funeral was held in Hamilton, but Gleeson's mother, Aleisha Wilson, plans to hold a memorial service in Hokitika when she gets back.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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