A Te Awamutu couple is thankful no-one was injured after an unattended van crashed over a bank into their section, taking out a power box and demolishing a garden shed next to their house.

A young landscaper left his engine running on Picquet Hill Rd while dropping car keys off to his mother-in-law — two doors up from Lorraine Frederick and husband John Tart's property — so she could take her grandchildren down to his house.

The driver had put the hand brake on, confirmed by next door neighbour Colin Fuller who raced to turn the key off in the van shortly after the crash.

A crane from a nearby industrial estate was used to lift the van back onto the road. Photo / Colin Thorsen
A crane from a nearby industrial estate was used to lift the van back onto the road. Photo / Colin Thorsen

Fuller was surprised the van and trailer had managed to pass through a narrow gap between his front fence and car parked on the grass verge outside his house.

Advertisement

"The driver got the shock of his life when he came outside and his van was not where he had left it," Fuller said.

Lorraine Frederick said the Thursday afternoon incident could easily have been much worse.

"My husband had just gone down to Mitre 10 to get some screws, otherwise he would have been in the shed when the accident occurred," she said.

"I am so relieved no-one got hurt. We can always replace the fence and shed, they are just material things."

Frederick said she was blown away by the actions of the young driver and his local landscape business firm after the accident.

"Our power was out for around three hours after the power box was taken out in the crash," she says.

"They brought us, and our neighbours, a generator each for power and are coming to take away the damaged fence and shed.

"The driver came back again later on Thursday night to make sure we were okay and asked if there was anything else he could do to help out. He has been marvellous.

Advertisement

"Had he been hooning around in the van I might have given him a serve, but he had done nothing wrong. It was purely a freak accident that could have happened to anyone."

Frederick has also been overwhelmed by the support she and her husband had received from neighbours and her extended family who arrived with dinner and cleaned up the debris.

A crane from a nearby industrial estate was used to lift the van back onto the road. Despite panel damage, the vehicle was driven away.