Pedestrian fights for life after Cup Day

Last updated 16:58 14/11/2012

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Police have slammed the behaviour of Cup Day drink-drivers after two serious crashes left several people in hospital and a pedestrian fighting for his life.

Senior Sergeant Rob Patterson said several people suffered significant injuries, including a woman who had fingers "severed" and others with spinal injuries after the van they were in rolled in Lincoln Rd after leaving Addington Raceway about 6.30pm.

Patterson said the vehicle had been travelling at excessive speed and rolled after the driver made a sharp left-hand turn into a side street.

There were 10 occupants in the vehicle. None of the passengers was wearing a seatbelt, he said.

"The van was seriously overloaded. There were no proper seats, only benches and unsecured seats," Patterson said.

"The driver fled the scene but was located by police shortly afterwards."

Three passengers were taken to hospital by ambulance.

Patterson said the driver, a 21-year-old Christchurch man, blew a reading of 524 micrograms of alcohol to a litre of breath. The legal limit is 400mcg.

The man will appear in court next Tuesday on excess breath-alcohol and failing-to-stop charges.

About 7pm, a pedestrian was hit by a car travelling away from Addington in Whiteleigh Ave at excessive speed.

Witnesses reported the pedestrian was thrown into the air and landed heavily on the footpath.

"The driver did not stop, but passers-by were able to give police information which helped us locate and apprehend the driver nearby," Patterson said.

"This driver was also over the limit, blowing a reading of 528."

A 25-year old Christchurch man will appear in court next Thursday on excess breath-alcohol, dangerous-driving and failing-to-stop charges, and an assault charge after the man allegedly assaulted a police officer in the Christchurch watchhouse.

The injured pedestrian is reported to be in a critical condition in intensive care at Christchurch Hospital.

A St John spokesman understood the man was aged in his 30s.

Patterson said it was "touch and go in the beginning" whether the pedestrian would survive.

"They thought he was going to die," he said.

"It's hugely disturbing to police that incidents like these continue to occur, despite the constant messages about drink-driving.

"This is simply stupidity and recklessness on the part of some drivers. I can't understand why drivers think it's acceptable to drink to excess at an event and then put themselves, their passengers and other road users at risk."

He said the two incidents took the "if you drink and drive you're a bloody idiot [message] to a whole new level".

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Patterson said some of the onus must be on passengers.

"Why people would willingly put their lives in the hands of a drunk driver is unfathomable."

He said police would be stepping up their efforts to take drink-drivers off the road through the rest of Show Week.

There would be a strong police presence at all major events, as well as checkpoints and booze bus operations in place, Patterson said.

Police were working closely with event organisers to ensure good host responsibility and prevent excessive alcohol consumption, he said.

- The Press

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