Quick reaction pulls little Lotta clear as runaway car smashes into salon

A mother pulled her 4-month-old baby to safety seconds before a car crashed through the wall of a Havelock North hairdressing salon.

Anke Peachey said her daughter Lotta was asleep in her pram right at the spot where a black hatchback rammed into the building yesterday.

"There was a build-up of noise, and I don't know how many seconds it took, but as the build-up got closer I stood up and pulled the pram towards me and the next second the car is right there," Peachey said.

"We were just so lucky that we could move out of the way."


The out-of-control car had gone off a straight road, down some brick steps, through a barrier and into the Village Headquarters on Napier Rd about midday.

No one was badly hurt. The woman driver, aged about 40, was taken to Hawkes Bay hospital with minor injuries.

Peachey said she was still shaken by the incident.

Her older daughters, 8-year-old Stella and 5-year-old Lina, could also have been in the salon, but had gone for a walk with Peachey's friend instead. "Luckily they weren't there."

Despite her daughter's lucky escape, Peachey said she wasn't angry, but felt sorry for the driver of the car.

"Until you are in that situation it is always easy to be judgmental and say 'How could you do that?'

"Everybody has freak moments and presses the wrong button or something."

One of the salon's owners, Coreen Russell, said the car crashing through the wall sounded "like a bomb" as customers scattered out of its path.

She described it as a "terrible noise".

"And then all you heard was everything smashing and breaking, you didn't know if it was an earthquake or what. Everyone just had to scatter," she said. "It's a miracle nobody was killed."

Salon co-owner Ange Davies said the premises had been extensively damaged.

"The whole back door's all smashed and a wall's smashed in and the counter is smashed through and the waiting chairs are smashed."

Insurance assessors were yet to inspect the damage.

Sergeant Paul Ormerod, of Hawke's Bay police, said officers were still investigating the cause of the crash.

Meanwhile, an infant was taken to hospital in serious condition after a car rolled on State Highway 1 near Paraparaumu yesterday afternoon.

Two adults and the 18-month-old child were travelling in the car when the driver lost control south of Poplar Ave near Raumati South.

The child was taken to Wellington Hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. The two adults were also injured and taken to hospital.