Woman dies after being hit by car at Mair Park

By Kristin Edge

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Rurumoki St near Mair Park where a woman was struck by a reversing car and died. Photo/Michael Cunningham
Rurumoki St near Mair Park where a woman was struck by a reversing car and died. Photo/Michael Cunningham

Neighbours of a popular Whangarei park say their worst fears have come true after the death of a woman who was struck by a car.

A 53-year-old woman was struck by a reversing car in Rurumoki St, near Mair Park, about 3.30pm on Sunday as she walked on the street.

She was taken to Whangarei Hospital in an ambulance but could not be saved.

Rurumoki St residents have become increasingly concerned about the parking congestion in their small street which is the gateway to Mair Park and walking tracks over Mt Parihaka.

As well as families, recreational and sporting users, it has become increasingly popular with businesses operating fitness classes.

It is unclear whether congestion was a factor in Sundays accident, in which a car is believed to have accelerated in reverse suddenly.

Road policing Senior Sergeant John Fagan said a womans Honda vehicle had become stuck after its front wheels rolled over a kerb.

Members of the public helped her push the car out.

As the car gained traction it sped backwards.

Police say the driver tried to brake but her jandal became wedged between the brake and accelerator pedals.

The car collided with the woman, and pinned her against another parked car. Police are investigating the crash and whether charges will be laid.

A Rurumoki St resident, who has lived in the street for 28 years, heard a scream on Sunday and knew immediately what had happened. She rushed out and saw a woman on the road and called for an ambulance.

An off-duty nurse and paramedic were among the people first to help the woman before an ambulance arrived.

"It's a beautiful park and asset to Whangarei. Parkings out of control now with all the exercise groups and people coming to walk and run after work," the resident said.

Quite often she was unable to leave the property as people had parked cars on the footpath and on the grass berm in the middle of the road while attending fitness classes in the park.

Other residents were concerned that if there was an emergency that required a fire truck at a busy period at the park there would be no way the appliance would reach them due to the number of cars parked on the edge of the road and on the footpath.

Whangarei District Council is not planning on adding more parking in the near future.

Group manager infrastructure and services, Simon Weston said there were no parking restrictions in the street, as long as there was adequate room to pass.

"The street has formal, designated carparks and is a designated slow street with a series of road humps to keep traffic speeds down."

"At the top of Rurumoki St there are a few formal carparks at the centre of the road," Mr Weston said.

The council permitted parking on the grass where it could be accessed, as long as it was safe and the parking did not cause excessive damage to the berm.

Mr Weston said businesses using the park for fitness classes did not need a permit to operate.

However, that was being reviewed.

"If permits were to be introduced in future, the provision of adequate parking facilities to meet the demand generated by such activities would be a matter considered in approving any such permit or licence," Mr Weston said.

- Northern Advocate

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