Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Bus ploughs into property as driver slips

The North Star bus was firmly lodged up against the damaged wall of a house in Torbay after it veered off the road. Photo / Greg Bowker
The North Star bus was firmly lodged up against the damaged wall of a house in Torbay after it veered off the road. Photo / Greg Bowker

A bus carrying passengers ploughed into the side of an Auckland house after the driver fell from his seat and steered the vehicle off the road.

It is understood the bus stopped only metres from where the owner of the house was making a hot drink in the kitchen.

Police were called to Glamorgan Drive in Torbay on the North Shore just before midnight on Tuesday after the North Star bus left the road and careered 7m from the footpath into the front of the wooden house.

A source told the Herald the bus driver was travelling towards Deep Creek Rd.

The driver felt a pain in his back and moved around in his seat to get more comfortable.

He had returned to work on Monday after several months off recovering from back surgery.

As he approached the intersection, he fell from the seat and, while trying to get back up, he steered the bus off the road and over the footpath and a retaining wall into the house.

When police arrived, the bus was lodged in dirt and hard up against the damaged wall.

The owners of the house, Cesare and Sandra Chwieduk, were not injured.

A neighbour was told Mr Chwieduk was in the kitchen making a coffee when the bus hit the house. She said Mrs Chwieduk was in a bedroom at the back of the house, well away from the kitchen.

The couple's grandchild was also at the house and was uninjured.

Mrs Chwieduk said the family did not want to speak about their terrifying night.

"It's too much for us, just too much."

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said she woke to a "real boomf" noise and ran out to see what had happened.

"I thought, 'Oh my God, a truck has rolled.' It was noisy," she said.

"There were three or four Asian boys on the bus and they said they just wanted to go home, that 'this country was too dangerous'. It was pretty dramatic."

The bus driver, described as "experienced", was not injured, but was taken to North Shore Hospital for an examination.

Police said there were three passengers on the bus when it crashed. They refused medical treatment and walked home from the scene.

The North Star service is owned by NZ Bus. Chief operating officer Shane McMahon said the driver had returned to work this week with clearance from his surgeon.

He told the Herald the bus "ran off the road" but he did not have further details.

"We've just kicked off an investigation this morning so we're trying to establish all the details," Mr McMahon said.

"We believe there were three passengers on board at the time. Unfortunately they've left the scene before we were able to get to them and have a chat to them."

Mr McMahon said the driver spent the night in hospital.

"Just for observation. It doesn't sound like there's any serious injuries - which is great news.

"The main focus for us right at the moment is just making sure everyone's okay."

He said the driver was experienced but would not give any further information about his history with the company.

The driver would be spoken to about the incident when it was appropriate, he said.

"What we want do from here is carry out a full investigation and understand exactly what's happened and what lessons can be learned - if there are any."

Mr McMahon said it was lucky no one was injured and he wanted the passengers to contact him so he could ensure they were okay and find out what they saw.

If you were a passenger on the North Star bus, phone 09 373 9118.

- NZ Herald

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