Car smashes into Whangarei barber's shop

A Northland hairdresser had to run for her life when an out-of-control car crashed through the window of her Whangarei barber shop.

Rebecca Moslen expected the day to turn out like any other when she left for work yesterday morning.

But just after 2.35pm Ms Moslen had to flee as a Ford Focus driven by a 91-year-old mounted the footpath and crashed into the Rust Ave Barbers.

It was a scary experience, but she was just thankful the barber's had no customers at the time as they would have been seated where the vehicle came crashing through the plate glass window.

"I'd just come to the front of the shop by the window, with my back to the window. I don't know why, but I looked behind and saw this car heading straight for the window," she said.

"I thought it was coming straight at me through the window so I just ran as fast as I could - I didn't realise I could run that fast - out the back [of the shop]. I paused for a moment when I heard the loud bang and looked back."

The car had been stopped by the door frame - but Ms Moslen's concern didn't end there.

"The wheels were still spinning fast and I thought it was going to come right through the shop, so I just ran."

It all happened in a matter of seconds but she reckons it felt like it took four minutes to open the lock on the back door of the shop and run outside.

And while it was a frightening ordeal, Ms Moslen said it would have been disastrous if it had been a normal Wednesday in the shop.

"We were just so lucky that we had no customers in at the time. Normally Wednesdays are really busy and when customers come in they sit right at the spot where the window came through and it would have landed on them ... it would have caused some serious injuries, but I'm really thankful the elderly gentleman in the car was not badly hurt," she said.

Last night she planned to head to the beach to unwind after the stress of the incident and would probably follow it up with a glass of wine to celebrate her narrow escape.

Whangarei police Acting Sergeant Gavin Cyprian said if the accident had happened a few minutes later dozens of children from nearby Whangarei Intermediate School would have been walking on the footpath the car crossed.

Mr Cyprian said it appeared that the driver had been at Whangarei Library and as he left, lost control of the vehicle.

The man received a bloodied nose and cut to his right hand. Police inquiries into the cause of the crash are continuing and Mr Cyprian said police had several witnesses who saw what happened.

The shop would be repaired and open for business, as usual, this morning.

- By Mike Dinsdale of The Northern Advocate

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