An Auckland man is thankful he and his son are alive, after a head-on collision with an alleged drink-driver on Christmas Day.

Sam Rollins, 77, was heading out for a special Christmas dinner with his son on the evening of December 25.

But he'd only just turned the corner out of the street where he lived in Pt England, when he saw a car "flying towards us".

"I didn't have any time to do anything, you just knew what was coming."


Rollins remembers the other car crossing the centreline before the two cars slammed into each other.

The other driver fled, leaving Rollins and his son, 52-year-old Thomas Rollins, to get out of the wreckage on their own.

"I'm very thankful I'm still alive. I was stunned when the accident first happened," Sam Rollins said.

"I couldn't even get my seatbelt off because of all the damage.

"But my son helped me get out.

"Once I got out to the roadside there was a crowd of neighbours, because the accident had caused such a terrific bang."

The accident has written off Rollins' car, which was uninsured.

To add insult to injury, he had to pay $850 to tow the wreck back to his house.

He said it seemed pointless to buy a new car at his age, so he would now have to rely on his son to drive him around.

But Rollins is just glad he and his son made it out relatively unscathed.

"I only got a chip on the bone of my right hand, and now I'm in plaster.

"Some bruises and scratches and things, where the airbag deployed, but it saved me.

"My son, he was lucky, he was in the back passenger seat. If he was in the front passenger seat he wouldn't have had the airbag that I did.

"As it was, he just got moderate injuries too.

"It could have been a fatality.

"Even after it happened, I was feeling pretty relaxed about everything because I could have been a gonna. But I wasn't."

A police spokesperson said they were told just after 7pm on Christmas Day of a two-car crash at the intersection of Tripoli Rd and Tuakiri St.

Police said the driver of one of the vehicles ran away, but returned a short time later.

A 29-year-old will appear in the Auckland District Court on February 2, to face charges of excess breath alcohol and careless driving.

Rollins said he just wanted people to realise the serious consequences of getting behind the wheel after a drink.

"I think people should know the pathetic results of drink driving.

"Maybe this will be a deterrent to anybody drink driving; it's not on, you know.

"People should look at this photo, see how much damage was done. We were very lucky.

"We could have died, no doubt about that."