A Hamilton mother was left shaking after coming across a horrific crash on the outskirts of Hamilton on Saturday - even though the crash turned out not to be real.
"It blew my mind - I'm still shaking," Pauline Baars told the Waikato Times on Saturday, just hours after the crash.
While it looked real enough to Ms Baars and her son, it was actually a mock crash set up by The Right Track programme organisers.
Ms Baars and her son were among 40 people on the programme which teaches young people referred by the courts about the consequences of dangerous driving.
She was her son's support person and said the crash, which involved an overturned car and young actors pretending to be dead and injured, was very realistic.
"There were just all these young people and one was trapped in his seat. I was looking around to find something that made it not real, but I couldn't find anything."
She even tried for the trapped man's pulse but couldn't find one because she was so panicked.
"I just felt so useless. All I could do was hold the young girl's hand."
Her 21-year-old son was referred to the programme via the courts after he crashed her car.
"He's had accidents before. This made me realise how bloody lucky he's been." And it's that realisation that programme organiser John Finch hoped every young person would take away from it.
Started in South Auckland in 2005, The Right Track was developed in consultation with police and endorsed by Auckland court judges.
The 42-hour programme uses real-life scenarios and presentations from emergency services, funeral directors, victims, towing firms and a hospital trauma unit to make the offenders realise the dangers and consequences of their driving.
Mr Finch said police had reported that over 80 per cent of young people that attend never reoffend.
Mr Finch said each participant had to bring along a family member as a support person.
"The changes in the young people and their families are enormous."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Would you like to see the development of the Hamilton Gardens fast-tracked?Related story: Hardaker aims to reinvest in Hamilton