Paramedic asleep at wheel after shift

By Andrew Bonallack editor@age.co.nz -
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Fire crews pull a vehicle to the side of Ngaumutawa Rd following a collision with a power pole. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK
Fire crews pull a vehicle to the side of Ngaumutawa Rd following a collision with a power pole. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK

A paramedic who had completed a 13-hour shift fell asleep at the wheel and drifted into a power pole on his journey home.

The Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic, driving his own 4x4 vehicle, grazed a power pole on Ngaumutawa Rd opposite Mitre 10 Mega in Masterton shortly before 9am yesterday. The impact caved in the rear side of his vehicle, spinning it around.

He was returning from Upper Hutt following his shift and had nearly made it home. Mitre 10 Mega staff set up traffic control while fire crews and a Wellington Free Ambulance team attended. The man was shaken but not injured. He was met by family members at the scene.

Masterton police Constable Dana Johanson said the driver had slowed down correctly for the change in speed but had fallen asleep.

"He grazed the power pole and came to rest up here."

She said police and emergency services are like a "family" and she could sympathise with working long hours.

"You have to feel for those who are working [those shifts]. He's working for the community.

"Everyone is tired for different reasons, but everyone needs to check themselves. If you are starting to feel drowsy or tired, pull over. At least he's not hurt."

She said she could not speculate on charges. The paramedic declined to comment.

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