Jordan Doyle cries when she talks about being isolated in Auckland away from home, her partner and her two children while recovering from a horrific car accident.
Jordan's neck was broken and she and her two passengers suffered other injuries when the van they were in and another vehicle collided at Taupō's Kiddle Drive-Napier Rd intersection.
On November 6, Jordan, a commercial cleaner and driver for Green Cleaning Services, was driving a work van across from Kiddle Drive to Arrowsmith Ave with two other staff, when the collision occurred.
The impact flipped Jordan's van on to its roof and spun it around. It ended up facing back the way it had come, its roof crushed.
"I just remember waking up and facing towards the back of the van ... I remember freaking out because I didn't know what had happened and I couldn't move."
Jordan's passengers suffered whiplash, bruising and broken ribs. But Jordan was worse off. Two vertebrae in her neck were fractured and another was crushing her spinal cord.
She was taken to Taupō Hospital and then flown to the Middlemore Hospital spinal unit. At Middlemore, she had surgery to stabilise the injury.
"They cut a hole in my throat," says Jordan, indicating a scar at the front of her neck, "and took a bone graft from my hip and stuck it in my neck and put a plate and two screws in there."
Jordan also had nerve damage to both arms and one of her legs, caused by her crushed spinal cord.
She was in Middlemore for three weeks and then had to stay in Auckland with a friend for another two months to enable her to get to follow up appointments.
At home, daughters Olivia-Grace and Nevaeh-Reign had to go without her for nearly three months and her partner, Michael Floyd, had to cope on his own as well as trying to work.
Nevaeh-Reign has club feet and needs extra care, which Jordan can't presently provide so she is living with Michael's mother while Jordan recovers. It's helpful, but Jordan is sad about not being there for her little girl.
"My 4-year-old just turned 4 and I missed her birthday. I missed our anniversary. I've got a 13-year-old who just started high school," Jordan said, through tears.
"Everything that has come from this accident or from that time has changed a lot of dynamics of my family. I can't pick up my child. I can't drive. My daughter is at my mother-in-law's and I'm still having to be without my baby. I'm not living quality of life at the moment."
Jordan was relieved to be able to come home to Taupō earlier this month, even though she struggled with exhaustion and restricted arm movement. But the joy of returning home was short-lived.
Doctors were unhappy with the way her neck was healing and she was losing movement in her arms. She wound up back in Middlemore Hospital and was taken back into theatre, this time to insert six more screws and four metal rods in her neck, putting her right back to square one of her recovery.
She is emotional, has flashbacks and is traumatised, but perseveres in the hope of eventually being able to resume her normal life.
The Kiddle Drive-Napier Rd intersection in Taupō has been the subject of controversy ever since the priority at the intersection was changed in 2019.
In 2014, Waka Kotahi/NZ Transport Agency ranked the intersection No 3 in its list of the country's 100 most-dangerous intersections. From 2003 to 2012, there were 18 crashes with 29 people injured (four seriously) and one fatality.
The intersection was also a bottleneck at peak times and considered unsafe for the many school students on foot or cycles who crossed it each day.
A priority change, with stop signs installed on Napier Rd, was installed in the interim while Taupō District Council waited for planning and design work to be done on a roundabout, along with the money to install it.
But the change caught some drivers by surprise, with numerous reports of vehicles going through the stop signs and causing accidents or near-misses.
Police are still investigating Jordan's crash and no charges have been laid but their statistics show that while there were three crashes at the intersection in 2017 and again in 2018, the number jumped to six in 2019 when the intersection was changed. Last year, there were 14.
Opinion is divided over whether it is driver behaviour or the intersection itself that is most to blame. The council has put in a number of modifications including extra signs, flexible barriers and new road markings, as well as lowering the speed limit along Kiddle Drive.
The council said a roundabout was still coming and design work has started, although the $1.95 million project was delayed by the rates freeze caused by Covid-19.
But some locals want faster changes to be made. One of the most vocal is Paul Henson, who says a temporary roundabout of fluoro battens should be installed in the interim until a permanent roundabout is built.
Taupō police have run a number of operations at the intersection and regularly patrol the area.
Road police manager Sergeant Andrew Lynch said staff had been ticketing people for failing to completely stop at the stop signs.
He said vehicle speed on Kiddle Drive was also a problem and vehicles driving up or down Napier Rd were sometimes surprised or cut short by another car coming quickly around the corner from Kiddle Drive.
Lynch said there were plenty of signs at the intersection and it came down to people driving to the conditions, being alert to their surroundings, looking for hazards and reading and obeying signs.
While things are dark for Jordan at the moment, she has been told that given time, her neck will heal. There is also an upcoming operation to be endured, which will take tendons out of her legs and put them in her damaged arms.
She is grateful she was in a van which meant she was slightly higher up and avoided major injury to her legs. She was also wearing her seatbelt.
Jordan believes driver courtesy in Taupō is generally poor.
"I could be your sister, your mother, your aunt -- and you don't want this to happen to one of your family members."