A man was crushed to death by his own car while trying to
stop it careering into a house, a coroner's finding has
John Pryde, 54, was found dead at his home in Kelson, Lower
Hutt on May 6, 2011.
Coroner Ian Smith said in his finding it appeared Mr Pryde
got out of his vehicle at the top of his home's extremely
"The vehicle has then moved under its own motion, down the
driveway with Mr Pryde attempting to stop its progress but
has become crushed between the vehicle and the fence.
"The vehicle has continued to career down the drive, crashing
through the timber fence again before coming to a rest down a
Police serious crash unit Sergeant Peter Sowtor said he
believed the car was not under power at any stage during its
movement from the top of the driveway to the bottom of the
gully, the finding stated.
"He was of the opinion that was caused when Mr Pryde stopped
at the top of his driveway just off the road, to either check
his mailbox or to collect his wheelibin.
"Sergeant Sowtor believed that Mr Pryde was able to take some
limited control of the Nissan and steer it away from the
house. However, he was unable to reach the brakes to stop the
vehicle and then fell underneath it."
The position where Mr Pryde was found suggested that he
either fell or jumped from the car as it was about to break
through the fence for the second time.
Coroner Smith said Mr Pryde's wife had many questions
regarding her husband's death and Mr Sowtor wished he was
able to answer them.
"However, whilst he may not be able to fully explain how the
event began, he believed that there was sufficient evidence
to conclude that Mr Pryde was extremely brave and
quick-witted enough to turn the Nissan away from what was in
all probability, a course that will have seen it drop onto
the house below."
Coroner Smith found Mr Pryde died as a result of fatal crush
injuries sustained to the thorax and abdomen. He extended his
condolences to his family and friends.
- By Brendan Manning