Coroner praises teenage rescuers

Three teenagers who freed a Timaru man after his van door crushed him against a power pole have been praised for their actions.

Claremont sales representative Desmond Alexander Bowman, 61, died from his injuries in Timaru Hospital several hours after the accident.

Coroner Richard McElrea's report into the November 2010 death said the help provided to Mr Bowman by teenagers Zayne Doyle, Jireh Hewlett and Tim Marshall was "exemplary" and "to be commended".

Mr Bowman had been drinking at the Ashburton horse races on November 11 and was driving home when he stopped his van in Rolling Ridges Road to relieve himself.

He forgot to put the hand-brake on his van and it began to roll. He tried unsuccessfully to stop it. The vehicle travelled 20 metres across the road, gaining momentum as Mr Bowman attempted to open the driver's door and jam the automatic transmission into park.

The van then wedged itself against a power pole, pinning Mr Bowman between the inside of the door and the pole.

He suffered a pelvic fracture and chest injuries which led to an internal haemorrhage.

An hour later and in darkness the three teenagers drove past the van. They did not think much of it but went back to check everything was all right.

They discovered Mr Bowman was trapped and were able to shift the van and free him.

One of the teenagers offered to take Mr Bowman to hospital but he insisted he was fine so they drove him home.

"Just take me home . . . I'll go to the hospital in the morning," Mr Bowman had said.

Once at his house, the teenagers got Mr Bowman out of the car and helped him stand, but he could not walk and collapsed.

One of the teenagers called 111 on a cellphone and ambulance and police arrived soon after.

He was taken to Timaru Hospital and died from internal blood loss two hours later.

A blood-test taken at the time of arrival showed Mr Bowman was 1 times over the legal blood-alcohol limit.

The report into Mr Bowman's death was delayed because of disruption caused by the Canterbury earthquakes. Herald staff

The Timaru Herald