Booze, speed factors in crash

Last updated 15:24 23/07/2014
Maeroa, crash
CRASH: Two people were taken to Waikato Hospital this morning when the car they were travelling in hit a tree in Maeroa, Hamilton.

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A road crash on a suburban street may have booze, speed and lack of restraints to thank for critically injuring the driver and seriously harming a passenger.

It also showed a selfish disregard for the safety of other road users, District road policing manager, Inspector Freda Grace said.

Emergency services were called to the scene of the crash on Maeroa Rd in the suburb of Beerescourt about 5.23am today.

Grace said the Waikato Serious Crash Unit is investigating the circumstances of the crash.

Initial indications suggest the driver of a Toyota Avensis station-wagon travelling on Maeroa Rd towards Norton Rd failed to negotiate a bend and the car crossed the centreline and fishtailed before hitting a tree.

It also knocked down a section of Martine O'Callaghan's fence. She was asleep when she heard ''this huge bang''.

''I laid there for a minute thinking, I wonder what that bang was. Then the horn started and I thought, oh my god it's a car''.

O'Callaghan ran to the back of her house and saw the car wedged between a tree and her fence across the footpath. 

''Someone was lying on the ground and I thought, oh god, they've hit somebody. It's unbelievable how it was wedged.''

Grace said the tree came away relatively unscathed however the same could not be said for the occupants of the car.

"The male driver of the car suffered serious to critical injuries while the man travelling as a front seat passenger suffered serious injuries. Two men travelling as rear seat passengers were shaken but unhurt in the crash and the two injured males were taken to Waikato Hospital by ambulance.

"At this stage it appears speed, alcohol, poor decision making, not driving to the conditions and not wearing seat belts all contributed to what happened this morning and the most frustrating aspect of the whole incident is it was completely avoidable.

"The driver's action were particularly concerning because roads are icy and busy with back to school traffic.

"Road safety is no accident, its all about driving to the conditions which includes both climate and driver conditions. People travelling in vehicles should ask the driver, are they, and their vehicles fit for the road and are we, and other road users, safe?".

Meanwhile, aman allegedly snapped driving stoned just hours after the crash has angered a senior Waikato police officer.

The ''completely unacceptable'' incident happened on Hamilton's Boundary Rd, shortly before 8am today, district road policing manager, Inspector Freda Grace, said.

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"One of our officers noticed a driver fail to give way and went to stop the vehicle. On stopping the car and speaking to the 53-year-old male driver our officer noticed a strong smell of cannabis and located a small quantity of the drug in the car.''

Grace said the driver failed a roadside impairment test. He was then taken for a blood test and, pending the results of this, faces potential drugged driving charges.Grace said police were already frustrated over driver behaviour on Hamilton roads following an early morning crash on Maeroa Rd where two men were seriously injured in an alcohol related crash.

"Already we've seen the results of poor decision making with the crash. An indicator on how drugs can impair your ability to drive was shown in this latest incident when the driver came to police attention by failing to give way.''

Grace said it was imperative all road users were fit for the road and had their wits about them. Drunk and drugged drivers fall far short of acceptable standards of behaviour on Waikato roads, she said.

- Waikato Times

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