Sympathy has turned to anger as people in Waimarama try to
understand the actions of four adults who crashed a quad
bike, critically injuring a "beautiful little girl" late on
The beach community's Jarks cafe owner Marianne Poszeluk said
the crash which put Ashlee Shorrock in Starship Hospital in
Auckland as well as seriously injuring her father, stepmother
and two other adults, was headlining conversation at the
establishment this week.
"When you hear about things like this the community usually
rallies to support the family. My initial thoughts were of
sympathy for the parents, for what they were going through.
"But yesterday the feeling was one of anger because something
like this could have been avoided. Ashlee didn't have a say
in the matter and now this beautiful little girl is fighting
for her life in Starship Hospital."
Ashlee's father, Daniel, 28, stepmother Stephanie Lucas, 22,
and two other young men were believed to have been drinking
at Waimarama Beach before driving the quad bike home before
midnight. It crashed down a ditch and into a fence of a
tennis court on Okaihau Rd.
Ashlee remained in a critical condition at Starship Hospital
last night. Mr Shorrock was transferred from Hawke's Bay
Hospital in Hastings to Middlemore Hospital in Auckland for
further specialist treatment. Ms Lucas and a 29-year-old man
also involved in the crash were discharged from Hawke's Bay
Hospital yesterday. A 20 year old man from the crash was in a
stable condition at the hospital in Hastings.
Ms Lucas worked at Jarks Cafe and her boss Ms Poszeluk, often
saw Ashlee and was fond of the Waimarama School pupil.
"This will hit us pretty hard. How can we convince people not
to do something like this again? That's what everyone is
asking at the moment.
"Waimarama is getting a bad name for things like this
happening but it's not a true reflection of the community.
Also the fire service out here has been called out too many
times for things that could be avoided or should not have
Waimarama School principal Kelly Vaney said her pupils would
want to see Ashlee's "smiley face"to start the new school
year in February.
"She is a happy, young little girl who is very playful and
imaginative. She loved coming to school.
"I've just been trying to send some things up to Starship for
her. It must be tough for a little girl to have to go through
all of this and by the sound of things it's going to take a
long time for her to get through it all."
A doctor on duty at Hawkes Bay Hospital when the group of
injured people were brought in said innocent people will
continue to be hurt if there is not a change in attitudes
Dr Scott Boyes said the crash brought home the impact of New
Zealand's culture of drinking and what was acceptable.
"It doesn't seem right, it's very sad," he told Radio New
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.
- By Lawrence Gullery of Hawke's Bay Today