An innocent victim who survived a crash featured in a new
road safety campaign says police have misled people and
unfairly blamed a truck driver involved.
Simon Cathcart suffered a cracked spine and lacerations when
he was sideswiped by another car and rolled at least six
times, but walked away from the smash.
As part of a new online campaign, police have published a
series of videos featuring real footage of crashes on New
One appears to show a car clip the front of a truck as it
attempts to merge lanes. The car slams into Mr Cathcart's
car, pushing it back into the path of the truck and causing
it to barrel-roll.
A police spokesman said the crash highlighted "what can
happen when a truck driver is distracted by his mobile
The description accompanying the video online further blames
the truckie. "Real CCTV footage of a truck driver who crashes
while using his mobile. Incredibly, nobody was killed," it
Former policeman Simon Cathcart suffered a cracked spine in
the crash that wrecked his car.
But Mr Cathcart says the truck driver has been unfairly
"I'm amazed at why the truck driver is alleged to have caused
"The woman driver of the car that gets hit by the truck was
the cause of the accident, not the truck driver.
"She undercut him suddenly and was catapulted into me.
"The road goes from three lanes into two and she was gunning
it up the inside lane ... as I was passing the truck. She
just cut straight in under him. He didn't have a chance."
Police subsequently told Mr Cathcart the female driver was
charged with careless driving causing injury and that she
pleaded guilty, he said. "When they closed the whole case out
with me, they rang up and told me the result and never
mentioned the truck driver.
"If they had charged more than one person I thought they
would have told me," he said.
"He may have been on the phone, but there's no way he caused
"In actual fact ... he did an amazing job of staying
straight, because I was literally right in his face. If he
had jack-knifed, the carnage that followed would have been
The crash occurred in the southbound lanes of State Highway 1
in South Auckland on July 26, 2012.
Mr Cathcart, a former policeman, managed to climb out the
smashed windscreen of his car and walk away from the crash.
He had asked police to be allowed to see the video of the
crash, but had been turned down, he said. The first time he
saw it was on the Herald website on Saturday.
"Visually, it was a lot more intense than what I could
remember. I remember looking at that car and knowing it was
going to hit me. There was nothing I could do. I just gripped
the steering wheel and then I was rolling, rolling, rolling."
Readers who were similarly annoyed with police blaming the
truck driver in the video contacted the Herald over the
"It is difficult to see how the truck driver contributed to
the crash, or could even reasonably have avoided it,
cellphone distraction or not," Andre Terzaghi said.
Martin Giess shared a similar sentiment: "The car driver
makes an incredibly foolish move cutting in front of the
truck from the left, being entirely responsible for this
horrific accident," he said.
Yesterday, police said the footage was released "as a public
"Nobody has been identified in the footage," said a police
spokesman. "If anyone has any concerns about the video, they
are welcome to contact police directly."
- By Sam Boyer of the New Zealand Herald