Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Spate of Bay crashes could have claimed second life

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Generous: Food Rescue manager John Payne with Tauranga Party Hire owner James Mollison who has donated the use of truck and chiller trailer. Photo/Supplied.
Generous: Food Rescue manager John Payne with Tauranga Party Hire owner James Mollison who has donated the use of truck and chiller trailer. Photo/Supplied.

Among Thursday's mayhem of crashes around the district, which left one man dead, was a second person on a charity mission who could easily have met the same fate.

The truck driver who lost his life at Pongakawa was Martin John Ferry, 30, from Tauranga.

Meanwhile a local woman seriously injured in another crash the same day on Te Puke highway near Bell Rd remains in Tauranga Hospital intensive care unit in a stable condition.

Mr Ferry's truck and trailer unit collided with a logging truck on the intersection of SH2 and Pongakawa Station Rd about 10.30am on Thursday.

Mr Ferry's family were too upset to comment yesterday.

Tauranga Good Neighbour Trust manager Cam Hill said the Te Puke highway crash which seriously injured one of the trust's volunteers could easily have claimed another life.

Mr Hill said the retired couple, who did not wish to be named, had been filling in for another driver of the trust's Food Rescue pick-up operation when the crash happened.

The injured woman and her husband had been heading back to Tauranga after picking up a pallet of kiwifruit when the truck collided with a van and a car, he said.

The 67-year-old passenger in the Food Rescue vehicle had to be cut free from the light truck which was a "write-off", he said.

Two other people suffered moderate injuries, police said.

Mr Hill said after he got the call about the crash he immediately rushed to the scene.

"It looked like the second vehicle just fell apart from front to the back due to the force of the impact . . . It's sheer luck that no one else was more seriously injured."

Mr Hill said the injured volunteer was flown to Tauranga Hospital by the Trustpower TECT Rescue helicopter and underwent surgery for a broken femur, also needed a hip replacement and has a broken arm.

"We're all praying for her speedy recovery . . . We want to commend the actions of all the emergency services, they did a fantastic job."

Mr Hill said the injured woman and her husband had been "valuable" volunteers for the trust's Food Rescue service for the past two years, and the Good Neighbour community had rallied to support the couple.

"We want to thank Tauranga Party Hire for donating a truck and chiller trailer in the interim to get us through until we can get another truck on the road."

Head of Western Bay road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said police offered their sympathies to Mr Ferry's friends and family.

"Police would also like to thank the members of the public who assisted at the scene of the crash and drivers for their patience when using the road diversions."

The investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash were ongoing therefore he could not comment further.

But Mr Campion said Thursday's spate of spectacular crashes around the district which happened on a warm, sunny spring day had stretched police resources.

"Dealing with all these victims and cleaning up lots of mess had been challenging for police and emergency services staff. It's certainly never easy, particularly dealing with so many crashes all in one day, " he said.

"To say I'm disappointed would be a total understatement. All I can keep repeating is that people need to focus on what they are doing, and drive with extreme care."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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