A senior firefighter says the driver of this Holden Commodore was "bloody lucky" to walk away alive after crashing into a power pole. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
Several large pieces of rubble landed on the unoccupied passenger side of the vehicle. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
A Kerikeri man who police say drank a large number of beers before driving home somehow walked away from a crash which left his car a tangle of twisted metal.
The man was heading south on State Highway 10, north of Waipapa, just after midnight yesterday when his car left the road and struck a high-voltage power pole.
The pole disintegrated as it was ripped from the ground with the reinforcing rods landing about 15m away and pieces of concrete thrown more than 30m.
The front of the V6 Holden Commodore was crushed in the impact. Several large pieces of rubble landed on the passenger side of the windscreen.
Senior Sergeant Brian Swann, of Mid North police, said the Kerikeri 23-year-old had allegedly drunk a large number of beers in Kaeo before trying to drive home around midnight.
Mr Swann said the man fell asleep while driving near Stanners Rd, drifted off the highway and crashed into the pole. He suffered only minor cuts.
When breath-tested at the scene he recorded a "very high level" of alcohol.
His licence was suspended for 28 days and he had been summonsed to appear in the Kaikohe District Court charged with drinking with excess breath alcohol. He was also likely to be charged with careless use of a motor vehicle.
Police, St John Ambulance and the Kerikeri Fire Brigade attended.
Kerikeri fire chief Les Wasson said the driver, the Holden's sole occupant, was "bloody lucky to walk away".
The impact lifted the power pole out of the ground and "took it for a walk down the road". The powerlines themselves were left intact.
Mr Swann said it was never okay to drink and drive, but "drink-driving at this sort of level is always going to lead to trouble".