A doctor on duty at Hawkes Bay Hospital when a group of
injured people were brought in after a quad bike crash says
innocent people will continue to be hurt if there is not a
change in attitudes towards alcohol.
Ashlee Petrowski (6) remains in a critical condition with
head injuries at Auckland's Starship Hospital after the quad
bike she was on with four drunk adults veered down a bank
late on Wednesday night.
The crash happened while the group was driving along a
Waimarama Beach road, south of Hastings, about 11.20pm.
The adults, including her father and stepmother, all suffered
broken bones. They are in a stable condition at Hawke's Bay
Dr Scott Boyes, an emergency consultant at Hawkes Bay
Hospital, was on duty when the group was brought in.
"It really brings home some of the concerns we have around
the culture of drinking and what is acceptable. It doesn't
seem right, it's very sad," he told Radio New Zealand today.
He said that over the holiday period there had been a record
number of patients admitted with injuries related to
"What we would really like is to be more proactive in
changing our attitudes to drinking and what we see is
"The quad bike accident illustrates that to us - what is
responsible? Is this acceptable behaviour? And really making
those decisions before we get into scenarios where alcohol is
"Because we've all made bad decisions when we were drinking
It was particularly bad when innocent victims, like Ashlee,
were involved, he said.
"It always seems to be the innocent people who get hurt and
it's hard not to feel angry or frustrated but again, we just
want to try to change what we think is acceptable attitudes
(around drinking) and really as a community we need to think
how we drink and what we think is right and take more
responsibility for what might happen."
Senior Sergeant Luke Shadbolt said police were yet to
determine who was driving the quad bike when it rolled but
the crash was the result of "the stupidity of the adults",
who were all aged between 20 and 28.
"When they were admitted to hospital last night we took blood
samples of all four adults for analysis, and there may well
be charges pending as a result," Mr Shadbolt said.
He condemned the actions of the adults, who "should have
"The dangers of quad bikes are well known and documented, but
to have it overloaded and be driving under the influence of
alcohol; it's an act of stupidity and negligence.
"It was certainly a chaotic scene and the child was obviously
distressed; as my staff relayed the situation to me you could
hear her screaming and crying in the background. These are
things that we have to attend, but they are infinitely