Olivia Carville is an investigative reporter with the NZ Herald.

Flat Bush crash: Sense of deja vu for locals who say drivers 'use this stretch to avoid cameras'

Police at the scene on Redoubt Rd in Flat Bush, South Auckland, after a person was killed when a car crashed into a house. Photo / Dean Purcell
Police at the scene on Redoubt Rd in Flat Bush, South Auckland, after a person was killed when a car crashed into a house. Photo / Dean Purcell

The car flew off the road, smashed through a wooden fence and ploughed into a two-storey brick house in Flat Bush, killing the passenger.

Those who lived nearby described the crash - which occurred just after midday today - sounding like a heavy door slamming shut in the wind.

In the minutes afterwards, some saw an "hysterical" young woman pacing in the driveway. Others saw emergency service workers pulling a body out of the passenger seat and covering it with a sheet.

Read more: One killed after car hits house in Flat Bush

In the quiet township of Flat Bush, serious car crashes like this are disturbingly common, particularly along the winding Redoubt Rd, locals say.

About 200m uphill from the crash site, at Mahendra Prasad's property there is a similar sight: a fence is smashed, a few trees are wiped out and deep tyre tracks can be seen cutting through the front lawn.

On Friday night, around 8.30pm, he said a drunk driver careened through his yard and went bonnet-first into the ditch along the edge of his property.

After the crash, Prasad's son went to help the driver and passenger but said they tried to punch him in the face, and then fled carrying beers.

That was the third time a car had smashed through Prasad's fence in the past five years, he said.

When he heard about the Sunday afternoon accident which occurred just a few doors down from his house, Prasad said he wasn't surprised and wandered down the road to see if he could help.

The car's bonnet was up against the side of the house, but only slightly crumpled, Prasad said.

A young Caucasian woman was sitting on the concrete wrapped in a blanket, wearing an oxygen mask and being helped by paramedics.

The passenger of the car was still inside the damaged vehicle, Prasad said, and it took five emergency service workers to pull the person out of the front seat.

He could not tell if the passenger was male or female or if they were alive when they were pulled out of the car, but Prasad said paramedics immediately started performing CPR on the passenger on the ground beside the car.

After about 15 minutes, they stopped and covered the body with a sheet, he said.

Police said the Serious Crash Unit is investigating and the driver was taken to hospital with moderate injuries. Two people who were inside the house at the time of the accident were not injured.

One witness who heard the crash said he saw "a bunch of fence all over the road and a girl on the driveway in hysterics".

The witness, who didn't want to be named, said the car flew off the road at an uphill turn.

"They must have been travelling extremely fast. Didn't hear any screeching of brakes, just a loud thud," he said.

Flat Bush is New Zealand's biggest and most comprehensively planned town, stretching across 1700ha in south east Auckland.

The houses dotted along Redoubt Rd are large and most of the lawns are manicured.

Prasad believes drivers use the Redoubt Rd route to Manukau to avoid speed cameras and police.

He said he often sees boy racers doing burnouts in the area.

The car crash that occurred on his property on Friday night could have been fatal too, Prasad said.

The front of the car and the windshield were "totally smashed", he said.

He wasn't home at the time, but his daughter called the police and his son went to the aid of the two men in the car, he said.

"They were definitely drunk. They had beer bottles in their car and when my 18-year-old son asked what their names were, one of them threw a punch at him," he said.

Police used sniffer dogs to try and track down the driver who fled and the car was pulled out of the ditch by a tow truck, Prasad said.

Two years ago, Prasad said another car had crashed in the same ditch and he had to carry the injured driver out.

When he first moved into the Flat Bush property in 2010, he had five 2.5m trees lining the fence along the front of his yard.

Only one tree stands now: "Every time an accident happens, one goes," Prasad said.

The identity of the deceased passenger has not been released by police.

- NZ Herald

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