Car slams into B and B

By Roger Moroney

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Standing outside the shattered frontage of his Marine Parade bed and breakfast, owner Cafer Unac could only shake his head and be thankful he had popped out for a coffee when a car "went crazy" and slammed into it.

"I am just happy to be still alive," he said as he looked over a landscape of shattered timber, glass and parts from the car which hammered into the building yesterday not once, but twice.

"I definitely would have been sitting right there," he said, pointing at a chair covered in debris.

"It was around 9.30am - at that time I am usually at my computer but I went out to have a cup of coffee."

While the front of the wooden building would require major reconstruction, after engineers completed structural reports, he shrugged off the inconvenience.

"I am just thankful we [he and his wife] were not home - that no one was hurt."

The impact destroyed their bedroom, while the force of it popped open a door at the rear of the building about 20m away.

Mr Unac got back soon after the incident and could not believe what he saw. "I just sat in the car and looked at it, and looked again, and then thought, 'Oh my God ... it is our place".

The incident also left Mr Unac's neighbour, Colin Pemberton, who saw the incident, shaking his head, and also thankful no one was seriously hurt or killed.

It began when a man police said was in his 50s, drove a car out of the carpark beside Marineland. Two passengers were seen to get out before the car went on its out-of-control rampage.

"He drove it across the road at full noise," Mr Pemberton said, adding he stood frozen to the spot looking out his front window as the car bounced over the centre island and toward him.

But it veered and slammed into Mr Unac's property.

"Then he reversed back over the road - back over the centre island and clipped a white car travelling the other way."

That caused his car to spin into a parked vehicle. Mr Pemberton said the "vacant" looking driver then accelerated hard across the centre island for a third time - slamming at speed into Mr Unac's property again.

"He just booted it and the noise was horrific - he was actually airborne and the car ended up right inside the house."

The driver then managed to reverse the badly damaged car out and on to the road, and began to drive toward the central city.

Napier Police Traffic Unit senior constable Ian Cheyne said two members of the public who had seen what happened tried to reach in and get the keys from the ignition but the man continued to drive away.

A police officer who had been heading toward the Napier Court came across the scene, spotted the smoking and shuddering car driving slowly away, and leapt from his vehicle, ran alongside, reached in and got the keys out.

Mr Cheyne said while the driver hadn't been hurt he was "extremely intoxicated".

The man had been processed for drink-driving and would face that charge as well as reckless driving.

"That is a busy stretch of road and there were people about. There could have been kids there - the combinations don't bear thinking about," Mr Cheyne said.

That the man was so drunk at 9.30 in the morning did not come as too much of a shock to police.

Mr Cheyne picked up a driver on the expressway last week, also about 9.30am, who was well over the limit.

"Drunk drivers are out there at all hours. That's why we set up checkpoints anywhere and any time," Mr Cheyne said.

Police were also called to a crash in Awatoto Rd, Meeanee, on Wednesday night in which a car struck a power pole. The driver wound up in a critical condition in intensive care at Hawke's Bay Hospital. The crash happened about 8.10pm and the driver had to be cut free. No other details were available.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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