Ashley McPherson talks to his mother on the phone about the
crash that led to his partner and 5-year-old daughter being
taken to hospital. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
What was meant to be the start of a long-awaited family
holiday turned into every parent's nightmare.
Ashley McPherson, of Riverton, vividly recalls the ''horror
moment'' when he saw 5-year-old daughter Madison ''laying
halfway out of the car'' after a crash near Balclutha on
Mr McPherson's partner, Katrina Peyton, was driving the
family of four towards Balclutha, on their way to holiday in
Christchurch, when she hit black ice and lost control about
Police say the car rotated on ''severe black ice'' and
another vehicle collided with the back of the car.
''I just remember her waking me, screaming and saying 'I lost
control','' the father of two said yesterday.
''We must have hit the gravel on the other side of the road,
which tossed us back around, and then I saw the headlights of
the vehicle coming the other way.''
In the collision, he lost his glasses, which left him
''It was pitch black, I was blind. I couldn't see my wee
girls, I couldn't get out the door. My partner was talking to
me but she was in and out of consciousness - it was one of
those horror moments.''
The family was taken to hospital in Balclutha.
Mr McPherson and his 3-year-old daughter, Katelyn, were
assessed there, while Madison and Ms Peyton were taken to
Dunedin Hospital by helicopter.
''The last moment I said goodbye to her, I thought I might
never see her again,'' he said, visibly upset.
''When I left her, she was still covered in blood.''
He received a call to reassure him his partner and daughter's
injuries were not life-threatening.
''That was just a big relief,'' he said.
Madison received a large cut to her forehead, her lip was
torn from her gum and her spleen was ruptured.
Katelyn had given him strength while he waited for news about
the rest of his family, as she was ''all smiles'', he said.
The family's dog, a poodle named Bonnie, had escaped from the
car after the crash and was hit by another vehicle.
''It was another blow,'' he said.
''That was our only car and we lost the wee dog, which is
quite sad because she was the kids' favourite. She slept on
the beds every night at home.''
He had not told the children about the pet as he was waiting
for them to be ''in a better mood''.
The family had intended to holiday in Christchurch before
Christmas last year.
Those plans, however, had to be put on hold because Mr
McPherson broke his leg.
The family's car had only third-party insurance, which did
not cover the cost of towing.
''It's nearly $300 already so it's just another blow on top
of everything,'' Mr McPherson said.
Madison and Ms Peyton were stable in Dunedin Hospital last