Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Girl, 13, hit by car in front of classmates

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PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER
PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

Upset teenagers watched in shock as a Taupo classmate, in Rotorua to perform at last night's Stage Challenge, was hit by a car.

Sparkle Bixley, a 13-year-old Tauhara College student, was hit by a 4WD vehicle as she ran across Amohau St, opposite the Pak'n Save carpark, yesterday afternoon.

She suffered a badly broken leg and other minor injuries and was taken to Rotorua Hospital where she underwent surgery last night - as her fellow students took to the stage without her.

Bay of Plenty Police District Command Centre Senior Sergeant Mike Membery confirmed a person had been hit.

A witness said he saw a group of teenage girls run across the road and one was hit by a 4WD.

Other students at the scene were seen embracing, hugging and crying.

Traffic was reduced to one lane while St John paramedics tended to the girl.

Tauhara College's Sue Goldsmith said staff and students stayed with Sparkle until her parents arrived.

"She's one of our characters in our Stage Challenge show, but another student has stepped up.

"The kids decided to go ahead and Sparkle would have been devastated if they didn't get on stage," she said.

The Stage Challenge competition took place at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre last night.

Sparkle's father, Donovan Bixley, was at her bedside last night after driving up from Taupo when he heard about the accident.

"We got a call from a bystander on the side of the road. She may have got our number off our daughter.

"It was a bit disconcerting but it turned out it was not our worst nightmare," Mr Bixley said.

"She told us she was aware that she made a mistake running across the road.

"But, hopefully some good can come out of it and it's a lesson for her friends and sisters to be careful out there.

"We are always telling the girls to be careful, especially in carparks and on rainy days.

"It's an unfortunate thing to happen, but it's just one of those things.

"The worst thing was waiting to see if the CT scan was clear. We are very pleased any major injuries have been cleared, and it's just a badly broken leg.

"She had a close escape and we're really pleased everyone was there to help her - I don't think she'll be making the Stage Challenge, she loves her dancing so she's a bit sad," he said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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