Bystander helps dazed driver

By Rebecca Savory

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Alex Griffin, 18, sprinted to the crashed car to check on the driver.
Alex Griffin, 18, sprinted to the crashed car to check on the driver.

Alex Griffin helped a dazed driver out of his crumpled car just moments after the vehicle smashed into her neighbour's house.

Emergency services were called to the crash on Oban Rd in Greerton shortly before 1pm but Ms Griffin, 18, was first on the scene to help the man out of the car.

"We heard a huge bang. We thought a truck and trailer must've fallen over on the main road it was that big.

"I sprinted out there and went straight to the car thinking I would see a dead body or someone was going to be really injured.

"The driver's window was smashed. He wasn't really conscious but he was awake, just not really with it.

"I said 'you've gotta get out, the car's smoking'.

The man climbed out of the passenger door as the driver's side door was crushed, she said.

"He's so lucky he didn't hit the tree."

"I feel actually quite thrilled he's okay.

Constable Andrew McDonald said the man injured his neck in the crash and had been taken to Tauranga Hospital for observation.

The incident followed a two vehicle crash in Tauriko on Wednesday night that resulted in a car on fire and a light truck left sitting at the top of a cliff.

The two vehicles crashed on State Highway 29 outside the Caltex service station at about 7.30pm, Senior Sergeant Mike Owen said.

The area of the State Highway was blocked off and traffic was told to turn around or wait as the possible diversion along Poripori Rd was flooded, Mr Owen said.

Initial indications suggested the blue car crossed the centre line and the two vehicles collided on their driver's sides, he said, before the car caught on fire.

"Basically everything is melted," he said.

The fire was extinguished by firefighters when they arrived on the scene.

The light truck was pushed off the road by the impact and was sitting only metres from a steep cliff above The Lakes.

The man driving the car and the two men in the light truck were lucky to escape with no major injuries, Mr Owen said.

The three men were not trapped in their vehicles, he said.

"Alcohol is not a factor and it doesn't appear excess speed is a factor.

"It was a reminder to drive to the weather conditions and pay particular attention to both the conditions and other vehicles on the road," Mr Owen said.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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