A crash that left a Far North man soaked in petrol and trapped upside-down in his car against an electric fence is a stark reminder to slow down over the Christmas holidays, police say.
The crash occurred just after 11am yesterday when the driver of a Subaru Impreza lost control as he was heading towards Kerikeri on Kapiro Rd.
His car dropped into a shallow roadside ditch, careered about 50m along a grass verge and demolished a wooden fence before apparently becoming airborne. The vehicle grazed the top of a row of large rocks, snapped several small trees and cleared a fence before coming to rest on its roof in a paddock.
A passenger, understood to be the driver's daughter, was unhurt but the driver was trapped in the wreckage. His large size, and the fact petrol was leaking over him, complicated the job of Kerikeri Fire Brigade volunteers as they worked to cut him free. A neighbour turned off power to the property so the electric fence would not spark a fire.
The car driver was thought to have suffered only minor head injuries and was taken by St John Ambulance to Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa. He was seen to be wearing a ankle bracelet of the type issued by Corrections to offenders on a sentence such as home detention or community detention, or on electronically monitored bail.
Constable Murray Wickliffe, of Kerikeri police, said speed was thought to be a factor in the crash. It was a timely reminder for motorists to slow down and take care on the roads.
"People have to think about their families and getting home safely for Christmas."
The driver had been saved from serious injury because the car had come to rest in a ditch, so the area where he was was not completely flattened.
A young woman on horseback nearby was also fortunate her horse was not spooked by the smash. Mr Wickliffe said drivers had to slow down when passing horses, even when they were well off the road.
The property owner is understood to have put a row of large rocks in place after a drunk driver demolished part of the fence about two years ago. Yesterday's accident demolished the other part of the fence.