A former mayor and his two passengers were lucky to escape serious injury after his Mercedes-Benz, travelling at about 100km/h, crashed into a cow.

Bill Woods was returning to Springfield from Christchurch Airport at 1am last Thursday when he hit the cow in the middle of Old West Coast Rd near Waddington.

He was mayor of the Selwyn District form 1992 to 1995.

His Mercedes-Benz B200 was moderately damaged, he and his passengers, Keith and Helen Taege, of Sheffield, escaped injury. He had picked them up from the airport.

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The cow was killed.

Woods said the air bags did not activate, which in hindsight was lucky. After striking the cow, his vehicle veered towards a power pole which he was able to avoid. The car came to a stop at the side of the road.

If the air bags had inflated he would not have been able to see the power pole, he said.

Woods will be making inquiries as to why the air bags did not activate.

He swerved to try and avoid the cow.

"If I had hit it square on . . . it (car) would have been a real crumpled mess," he said.

- Star.kiwi