Four hurt in wrong-way horror crash

Fellow motorists help the occupants of two cars which collided head-on on the Southern Motorway near Green Island last night while they wait for emergency services to arrive. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.Horrified motorists rushed to the aid of four seriously injured people after two cars collided head-on last night in the southbound lane of Dunedin's Southern Motorway, near Green Island.

Police say one of the vehicles was being driven by an elderly Balclutha woman in the wrong direction in the southbound lane, having entered the motorway at the Abbotsford exit on Westland St.

Those first on the scene reassured the injured and called emergency services.

Soon sirens could be heard as fire appliances from Roslyn, Lookout Point and Willowbank, police and four ambulances plus two paramedic vehicles, rushed to the accident shortly before 6pm.

Two people, one from each vehicle, had to be cut from their cars by the Fire Service.

Four people - a male, female and a 5-year-old boy from one family, and the elderly woman from the other car - were taken to Dunedin Hospital by ambulance with serious injuries.

The boy was in intensive care last night while the adults suffered broken bones.

Southern District Command Centre deployment co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Brian Benn said it was believed the woman had driven from Balclutha yesterday.

The people in the other car, were a family from Mosgiel.

Police closed the southbound lanes of the motorway, diverting traffic into Green Island. Northbound traffic was not affected.

Dunedin man Jonathan Kemp was driving to Green Island to pick up his son when he saw the vehicle heading the wrong way on to the southbound lane of the motorway.

He saw the driver ahead of him make a phone call so continued on, but coming back along the motorway was shocked to discover there had been a crash.

Other drivers last night commented on the Otago Daily Times' Facebook page how they had seen the driver going the wrong way.

Robert Allum said he was on his way home when he saw the car going slowly and he flashed his lights at it.

''I felt absolutely sick when I saw the ambulance go over Saddle Hill.''

The accident occurred just metres away from where a brother and sister were killed last month in a single-car crash.

Only 3, all guaranteed permanently healthy

My apologies, Albert Square, for including you in the drivers you regard as fully permissable on NZ's roads. 

However I must take issue again with your assertions regarding amputees, since I have known several who drive and read or heard nothing about people in their situation being disproportionately at risk of having or causing accidents, so why do you ask "Can you explain how prosthetic limbs provide tactile grip for steering, and is driving an automatic using one's right foot entirely safe?"

My answer is that while new technology often seems scary, in an age when the totally driverless car is well along the development path I'm happy with the demonstrated ability of a combination of vehicle modifiers and sensible disabled people to result in safe road users.

As for "Drivers at risk of neurological misfire should not be on the road"- if you can predict which individual will have a "neurological misfire" for the first time, i.e. before there is any history of such conditions, you are valuable beyond diamonds. Treating these potential conditions ahead of clinical presentation will save millions of dollars in health care and personal tragedies. [Abridged]



Inclusive driving

H, maybe I'm posting this comment because I object to Albertine reference headlined under the actual news item. I cant speak for three others, let them take their chances as they will. Re your misinformed ad hominem: I lost a grandson to MVA, which made me more interested in safety and social responsibility, than individual rights. I do not drive, because of poor vision. So, I take back my assertion that the independently mobile elderly should be restricted. Health checks should be regular, even for the aged who rail against Nanny State. Drivers at risk of neurological misfire should Not be on the road. Can you explain how prosthetic limbs provide tactile grip for steering, and is driving an automatic using one's right foot entirely safe? Note: comments are general observations, with no link to the news item.

Albert and three others

Albert Square recommends such a comprehensive list of conditions limiting the right of other people to drive, I can see his idea of safe NZ roads consists of only himself and 3 other people being allowed to use vehicles without "Restriction on distance and driving hours" / "restricted licence" / "no licence [permitted].  By the way where can we find the stats to back up this assertion "regardless of available vehicle or prosthetic adaptation, driving without limbs is unsafe"?

Are there any people not fitting the categories of age or physical or mental health that Albert Square would like to see deprived of current rights, who have or cause accidents on the road?  If so they must be included in the list.  That should mop up the last few excluding Albert and his little band of  Three Righteous Drivers. 

Time to relearn?

I wish everyone a prompt recovery. It is a bit disturbing and ironic that this happens after a week talking about tourists driving on the wrong side of the road. Here is the proof that it is not only tourists. Best wishes to those involved in the crash and fingers crossed this won't happen again.

Safer highways

Restriction on distance and driving hours for elderly/ restricted licence for drivers on prescribed medication/ no licence for stroke, neuro patients or with history of severe psych disorder/ personal view only: regardless of available vehicle or prosthetic adaptation, driving without limbs is unsafe.

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