Tess Nichol is an NZME. News Service reporter.

Hastings father on bottle car smash: 'The thing I thought of straight away was my kids'

Caleb Olsen and Terri Nicol with 2-year-old daughter Paige look at where a spirit bottle was thrown through Caleb's windscreen last night on the Hawke's Bay expressway. Photo: Warren Buckland
Caleb Olsen and Terri Nicol with 2-year-old daughter Paige look at where a spirit bottle was thrown through Caleb's windscreen last night on the Hawke's Bay expressway. Photo: Warren Buckland

A Hastings father-of-one with another baby on the way narrowly escaped tragedy last night when an empty Jim Beam bottle was hurled through his windscreen from a passing car.

Caleb Olsen was on his way to Pak'n Save in Tamatea, where he has been working the night shift as a baker for the last six months, about 11 last night.

Shortly after turning onto the Hawke's Bay Expressway Olsen's car was hit by a bottle, believed to be thrown from a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction.

"Out of no where there was a big smash and a big thud on my shoulder and glass in my face," Olsen told the Herald.

"I couldn't see anything."

Olsen said he "knew instantly" it was a bottle because he could smell alcohol when it hit the windscreen.

"The thing I thought of straight away was my kids. I'm still thinking about it now, the memory of the glass shattering in my face is overwhelming."

The bottle glanced off his right shoulder after hitting the steering wheel, landing in between the driver's door and seat.

Brushing glass from his eyes, Olsen pulled over and rang police.

The bottle smashed through Olsen's windscreen, hitting the steering wheel before glancing off his right shoulder. Photo/ NZ Police.
The bottle smashed through Olsen's windscreen, hitting the steering wheel before glancing off his right shoulder. Photo/ NZ Police.

The officer who attended told Olsen in 15 years he'd never seen such a close call.

"Probably two or three inches to the left and it would have cleaned me out," Olsen said.

"How could someone even think about doing something this stupid.

"I'm a father to a 2-year-old and I've got a child due in five weeks."

Olsen's partner of six years, Terry Nicol, had yesterday begun her maternity leave and the couple were at home today with their daughter Paige after Olsen called in to tell his work he would be taking the day off.

"[Terry's] shocked as well. It kind of sunk in about 1am and she had a bit of a cry. I'm getting through it slowly."

Police had taken the empty Jim Beam bottle away for fingerprinting.

It was the only piece of evidence they had because Olsen couldn't see anything in the dark.

"All I saw was headlights, I've got no description of the car I don't even know what colour it was."

Today, Olsen's shoulder was a bit sore but mainly he was thankful to be alive.

If he could ask the person who threw the bottle anything, Olsen said it would be why they did it.

"Why are you that stupid, that's all I've got for them. What reason do you have to do that other than pure stupidity."

Hawke's Bay Police described the actions of whoever threw the bottle as "reckless in the extreme" and said if the person responsible was found they would likely face charges.

- NZ Herald

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