A terrifying crash in Auckland's Mt Eden last Friday night saw four cars destroyed and 10 people hurt. Two people, including an 11-year-old girl, suffered life-threatening injuries. So, how did such a horrific crash happen on a suburban Auckland street?
It was just before 7.30pm on June 7. Traffic was flowing along Dominion Rd, a major arterial north-south route from Auckland's CBD.
A small silver car approached Dominion Rd from a side street, Milton Rd. The car slowed as it reached the stop sign next to Farro Fresh.
Then behind it on Milton Rd appeared a white people mover. CCTV footage shows the white Nissan Presage flying down the hill at high speed and ploughing into the silver car from behind.
The little car didn't stand a chance. Its boot folded up like an accordion and it was pushed into the path of traffic. Both cars shot out across Dominion Rd, slamming into a grey southbound Honda Torneo, shoving it into the driver's side of a northbound Mazda 4WD. The four cars came to a stop on the far side of the road, the Mazda on the footpath.
People streets away had heard the bang. One man heard a "terrible big blast" and thought it was a bomb.
CCTV shows cars quickly stopping and people running to the victims' aid. The first 111 call came in at 7.31pm.
First responders were shocked when they arrived to find that nobody had died. But 10 people had been hurt, St John Ambulance shift supervisor Greg Scott said; two critically, two with serious injuries, two with moderate injuries, and four with minor injuries.
Several patients were trapped in the wreckage and had to be cut out by firefighters armed with the jaws of life. The roofs of two cars, including the Honda, were cut off to get the occupants out.
An 11-year-old girl and a woman, 35, suffered life-threatening injuries following the crash and were taken to Starship Hospital and Auckland Hospital. A 43-year-old woman received moderate injuries and was also taken to Auckland Hospital. The girl and one woman are understood to be related.
All three are now in a stable condition, an Auckland District Health Board spokeswoman said.
Others got off lightly. Several of the injured were found wandering in the crowd, Scott said.
"It was quite a big incident and unfortunately some of our patients that came out of the cars went into the crowd, so we only found them later on. They were walking and so they weren't serious, so we discharged them on scene."
Three ambulances and a Westpac Helicopter Rapid Response Vehicle with paramedics were deployed to the crash. Emergency services spent more than four hours at the crash scene. The number of victims meant the incident would be considered major anywhere in the country, Scott said.
The Mazda, a Primary ITO staff car, was hit squarely on the driver's side but the lucky driver was back at work on Monday.
A company spokesman said their thoughts were with the injured people.
"We are relieved that the Primary ITO employee involved in the accident was not seriously injured and is back at work," the spokesman said.
In the aftermath, stunned witnesses dwelled on their near misses. One man drove through the area with his young daughter; and returning minutes later he was horrified to find the road covered in mangled cars.
CCTV from the nearby G.A.S. station shows a northbound car missed the crash by a fraction of a second.
Another tweeted his Uber had been four cars behind the crash. "Can't stop thinking if this is some final destination s*** about to go down," he wrote.
A witness said he was nervous about driving down Dominion Rd now - afraid a car could come out of a side street without warning.
Police are still investigating how the crash occurred, but locals have their own theories about how the white people-mover got up to such speed.
The limit on both roads is 50km/h, and there's a speed hump about 110m back from the stop sign on Milton Rd. They suspect the driver was either intoxicated or pumped the accelerator instead of the brake coming down the hill.
Nobody has been charged, acting Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Franich said.
"There are a number of inquiries underway at the moment and it will take time for a thorough investigation to be completed."
On Monday they police appealed for witnesses to the crash to come forward , as well as anyone who had seen the white Nissan people-mover in Mt Eden before 7.30pm.
• Anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Ewen Settle on 021 191 2616.