'My baby, don't leave me': driver

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 05:00 08/04/2014
fatal glenview crash
Peter Drury/Fairfax NZ

LIFE LOST: Rea Biggeta Day, 21, died in hospital after the car she was traveling in hit a tree on Garden Heights Ave, Melville. Flowers were placed at the base to pay tribute to the young woman.

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A driver who smashed into a tree and snapped a powerpole was seen holding the broken and bloodied body of his girlfriend, who was a passenger, screaming: "My baby, my baby, my baby, don't leave me."

Rea Biggeta Day left him on Sunday; the mother of two was 21.

Police said while alcohol and speed were factors in the crash and death, an investigation is underway after witnesses claimed an ambulance took up to 40 minutes to arrive.

At 3am on Saturday a Mercedes Benz sedan mounted the kerb in Garden Heights Ave in Melville and hit a tree.

Six metres on, it smashed through a powerpole before coming to a rest upright 9m further on outside the driveway at No 45.

Half the street woke with a start.

Glen Bason-Stanaway and his husband, who asked to remain anonymous, ran outside.

"It was pretty phenomenal," the husband said yesterday.

"We were first on the scene . . . She was outside of the car, next to it.

"He was beside her, kneeled over her. He was yelling and screaming because it was his girlfriend: ‘My baby, my baby, my baby, don't leave me'."

Acting Senior Sergeant Lara Beisly said the driver was found at the scene and was clearly intoxicated.

Speed was also a factor in the crash, she said.

Day was in a bad way.

She was bleeding heavily and did not have a pulse.

Bason-Stanaway said it was a traumatic experience.

"I was there on the scene covered in blood," he said.

"I was helping out all I could - consoling the driver, keeping her still and warm, and trying to find a pulse."

He also helped police put a tourniquet on her leg and bandage her wounds.

Another resident, Carol Searle, 69, said it took more than half an hour and up to 40 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

Bason-Stanaway agreed, estimating the delay was 35 to 40 minutes.

Police also tried to get authorisation for the rescue helicopter, he said.

"I put it down to that time of the morning, everyone coming out of the pubs." The distance between Waikato Hospital and the crash scene is 3.1 kilometres or seven minutes by car.

From the St John base in Seddon Rd it is 5.3km, about 10 minutes away.

St John spokesman Mark Tregoweth said they were investigating the response time after hearing concerns about the delay from the Waikato Times. Details about what occurred and why were likely to be known today, he said.

Police returned to the tree-lined avenue yesterday to interview witnesses. Others came to mourn Day's death. Floral tributes were left at the base of the damaged tree.

One woman, who did not give her name, said Day was the mother to her brother's children.

Day had a girl, 5, and a baby boy, she said. "She was a real good mum - she loved her babies."

Bason-Stanaway said drinking and driving did not go together.

"When are people going to get it through their heads? It's just a waste of a life."

Day's death takes the Waikato road toll to 17 this year which is five off the previous year's total of 22 deaths.

Police are asking anyone who was in contact with Day or who saw her out and about the night before the crash to contact Detective Lee Samphier of the Hamilton CIB on 07 858 6200. Calls will be treated in confidence.

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- Waikato Times

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