Lamp-post falls on passing ute

Silvio Kors feels he was lucky to escape harm when the lamp-post crashed on to his ute. Photo /...
Silvio Kors feels he was lucky to escape harm when the lamp-post crashed on to his ute. Photo / Christine Cornege.
Silvio Kors' first concern after hearing a loud bang and seeing his windscreen crack while driving was that he'd hit someone.

But when the terrified motorist pulled over, he found a lamp-post had crashed down on to his ute before bouncing off the bonnet and on to the road.

As he walked back to the scene, two young men -- who had been travelling behind him on SH2 near Papamoa -- were hauling the lamp-post off the busy road.

"I didn't see [anything]. It gave me a hell of a fright," Mr Kors said. "My first thought was if I had hit someone -- had a person, a drunk or someone, stumbled on to the middle of the road? And my second thought was a cow ... ".

When the Papamoa builder went to have a better look the next day, he saw that the bottom of the street light, which is bolted on to a metal plate in the ground, was rusty. He believed it may have been weakened by the storm on July 9.

Mr Kors said it would have been a very different story if the lamp-post had crashed directly on his windscreen, or if he hadn't been in the right-hand lane to turn into Bell Rd.

The bonnet of his ute was dented, the windscreen cracked and there was a hole between the windscreen and the bonnet.

After the crash Mr Kors contacted InRoads, which is contracted by the NZ Transport Agency to manage and maintain the local roads and state highways, and was told to file a claim with his insurance company. The Ford Courier ute was written off, as the cost of repairing it was more than the $2800 it was insured for.

Although Mr Kors felt he shouldn't have to pay a $300 excess for something that was not his fault, he was more concerned about other potentially dangerous lamp-posts.

He also wanted to warn other drivers.

"... I haven't even had an apology."

A spokeswoman for NZTA said the agency had met Mr Kors and was examining the fallen lamp post, the ground conditions in the surrounding area, as well as reviewing the weather conditions on the day.

NZTA said such incidents were rare as street lights were inspected every year and the agency worked with insurers on each case. Insurance Council insurance manager John Lucas said policy holders were liable to pay excess unless somebody else was found to be negligent.


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