Seven people from two separate crashes were taken to hospital as disruption struck Whangarei's morning commuters.

The first accident happened on Hatea Drive just after 7.30am yesterday morning.

Constable James Gibbings said a vehicle was heading down Hatea Drive towards central Whangarei when it veered left off the road between Deveron St and the Discovery Settlers Hotel and went down the bank.

The male driver was the only person in the vehicle. A St John spokeswoman said he was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Mr Gibbings said the vehicle hit a tree down the bank, which stopped it from going any further.


At edition time yesterday police were yet to speak to the driver of the vehicle to find out what caused the crash.

A tow truck was called in to get the car out of the bush and up the bank. Mr Gibbings said the scene was cleared away by 9.15am. The road wasn't closed but traffic was backed up along Hatea Drive.

About half an hour later, another crash disrupted the morning commute for motorists south of Whangarei.

A crash which involved four vehicles, including a light truck, happened just after 8am on State Highway One at Otaika, around 100m south of the intersection with Murdoch Cres.

A St Johns spokeswoman said two ambulances and a first response vehicle attended the scene. She said six people suffered minor to moderate injuries and were all transported to Whangarei Hospital.

The road was restricted to one lane while the scene was cleared.

Southbound traffic was diverted on to Mt Pleasant and Arcus Rds. Northbound traffic stayed on SH1 which was controlled by stop/go signs. The road was opened to traffic in both directions shortly before 9am.

Meanwhile in the Far North, a pregnant woman escaped serious injury when she was hit by a car on State Highway 1 on Saturday night. Police say the 16-year-old was wearing dark clothing and walking in the middle of the road when she was clipped by a vehicle on Turntable Hill near Moerewa.

She suffered only minor injuries, including grazing, but was taken to Bay of Islands Hospital as a precaution. Her baby was unharmed. The driver was not at fault.