Truck smashes into Hoon Hay home

ANNA PEARSON
Last updated 11:51 13/11/2013
Fairfax NZ

A truck was left embedded in a Christchurch house after its driver blacked out and crashed.

Hoon Hay truck crash
Dean Kozanic/Fairfax NZ Zoom
NARROW ESCAPE: The truck smashed through the dining room wall. Luckily no one was in the room.

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The owners of the Hoon Hay house, which a truck smashed into this morning, had just signed off earthquake repairs.

Ben Austin, 25, works at the dining room table in his family's Hoon Hay house most mornings.

Fortunately, he was not sitting there at 9.30am today when a 10-tonne truck took his place.

Driver blacked out

David Streatfield, the general manager of the Canterbury branch of Fastway Couriers, said the driver of the truck - Ray Koroheke - possibly blacked out.

''It looks like he suffered a stroke, collapsed at the wheel, veered across the road, ploughed into the house and came to a stop,'' he said.

"[Koroheke] doesn't remember a thing. He just remembers driving quietly down the road and ... next minute ... coming to in the truck.''

Streatfield said the house was "heavily damaged". Broken glass, Pink Batts and bricks were scattered throughout the dining room when The Press visited.

A white Subaru Impreza parked on the side of the road was also severely damaged when the truck swiped it on its way past.

Sleeping upstairs when the truck hit

Austin said he was sleeping in a bedroom above the dining room, after working late into the night, when the truck hit.

''My alarm had just gone off and I was about to get up. This forced me to get up.''

The business manager, who works from home, said it felt like an earthquake.

''I ran downstairs and everybody was flocking around trying to help the [driver]. He was just sitting there dazed. I don't think he had figured out what had happened,'' he said.

Fortunately not in usual spot

Austin said it was lucky he was not working on his computer in his usual spot at 9.30am.

His mother, Donna Wilkinson, said: ''It is incredible that he was not sitting at the table. Most mornings he is.''

Wilkinson, who owns the house, has just cosmetic Earthquake Commission (EQC) repairs signed off.

''[The damage to the dining room] is just unbelievable. It is worse than the earthquakes,'' she said.

''It was a square room. Now it is an unusually shaped room.''

Neighbour heard a 'splat' 

Hoon Hay Rd resident Norm Harrison was gardening in his yard when the crash happened.

''I just heard a 'splat' noise,'' he said.

Streatfield said Fastway Couriers was concerned for Koroheke, who was heading back to the depot in Carmen Rd when the crash happened.

Driver 'a good man'

''He is a very reliable employee and a good man.''

Streatfield was also ''very, very sorry" for the family. Fastway's insurance would cover the damage to the home, he said.

A crane was to lift the truck out this afternoon. A police spokesman said power-lines were also damaged in the crash.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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