New Zealand's northernmost police officer says she has her Holden, her seatbelt and possibly her stab-proof vest to thank for escaping serious injury in a head-on crash with a truck.
Senior Constable Tracee Knowler was also in good enough spirits after Monday morning's smash to joke that she could have ended up in the "pooh" - the other vehicle was a sewage pump truck.
"Imagine that mess had it had spilt/burst," she told her Facebook followers a few hours after the accident.
The crash occurred about 9.30am on State Highway 1 at Pukenui, outside the Houhora Big Game Fishing Club.
Ms Knowler said she was "extremely lucky" to get off with bumps, bruises and stitches in one knee.
"It just goes to show what I have said a few times on here before ... It can happen to anybody at any time," she wrote.
The sole officer at Houhora put her lucky escape down to her Holden ute, airbags, her seatbelt and possibly her stab-proof vest.
She also thanked the firefighters, medics, ambulance and hospital staff as well as he her police colleagues, and said she would be back on the beat in a few days. It was a strange and humbling to experience a crash from "the other side", Ms Knowler said.
The driver of the truck, who was thought to have been thrown from the cab, also suffered minor injuries. He was taken to Kaitaia Hospital for scans and X-rays.
Both vehicles sustained extensive frontal damage and ended up on the verge on the eastern side of the highway.
As with any crash involving a police officer, the accident is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Authority. The police Serious Crash Unit also travelled to Pukenui to examine the scene.
Ms Knowler told her 1634 Facebook followers she was being treated like any other driver involved in an accident and would let tell them the outcome of the investigation.
Her Facebook page and station phone have been flooded with messages of support since the crash. There were also plenty of jokes relating to the other vehicle's cargo.
Ahipara Septic Tank Cleaners, which owns the Pump It truck involved in the crash, could not be contacted.
Ms Knowler has gained a national profile for her use of social media to connect with her community and track down offenders, such as the infamous "buttcrack bandit" which first brought her page to wider attention.
A former detective who worked on some of Kaitaia's worst child sex abuse cases, she is planning to ride a seven-horsepower tuktuk the length of India in August to raise money for support services for the Far North's abuse victims.
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