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‘Tragic’: Carnage on Tauranga roads after two crashes within 24 hours of each other

A brick posting was thrown metres from its original location, to the top left of the middle road cone, in a serious...

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A brick posting was thrown metres from its original location, to the top left of the middle road cone, in a serious crash prompting the closure of Welcome Bay Rd on Friday. Photo / Kiri Gillespie

Two people have died and another has been seriously injured in two Tauranga crashes within 24 hours of each other over the weekend.

On Friday night, two pedestrians were killed in a crash involving a motorcycle near the crossing on State Highway 2 by the Bethlehem shops.

On Saturday night, a man suffered serious injuries in Welcome Bay after the car he was driving left the road and smashed into brick fencing, flipping the car and reportedly pinning him to the ground.

A Welcome Bay woman’s first thought when she saw the flashing lights for emergency vehicles and the damaged car rolled onto its roof outside her home was “I hope they are okay”.

Car debris was left strewn for many metres after a crash on Welcome Bay Rd on Saturday night. Photo / Kiri Gillespie
Car debris was left strewn for many metres after a crash on Welcome Bay Rd on Saturday night. Photo / Kiri Gillespie

The woman, who would not be named, had been out celebrating a birthday with family when the car left Welcome Bay Rd and crashed into her brick fence, flipping and landing on its roof on her neighbour’s driveway.

The crash happened between James Cook Drive and the Welcome Bay Foodmarket about 8pm. The driver suffered serious injuries.

From the scene earlier today, amid the broken and wrecked debris left behind, the woman said she was dropped off near her home by an Uber about 8.30pm. The road was closed at that point with police setting up diversions at Kaitemako Rd and James Cook Drive.

Tyre marks can be seen on the grass verging leading up to a brick fencing that was crashed into on Friday night. Photo / Kiri Gillespie
Tyre marks can be seen on the grass verging leading up to a brick fencing that was crashed into on Friday night. Photo / Kiri Gillespie

“I remember thinking ‘s**t, that looks like a serious crash. And then, ‘that’s my house’.

As the woman got closer, she noticed live wires sparking from a damaged power plinth and the upsidedown car in the driveway.

“I thought ‘I hope they are okay’ that was my biggest worry. Fencing can be replaced but lives can’t.”

The impact of the crash threw a solid brick posting of her fence several metres away, yet the driver of the car was still alive.

It is understood a neighbour stayed with and held the hand of the driver who was in pain and pinned down by the car.

Eventually, the driver was taken to Tauranga Hospital with serious injuries. There was no change to his status this morning.

Another neighbour, who would not be identified, said the situation was “tragic” and questioned the speed the vehicle must have been travelling at to inflict such damage.

At the scene, tyre marks could be seen on the grass verge leading up to the power plinth and brick fencing.

Welcome Bay Foodmarket owner, who would only be known as Savi, said he was shutting up the shop for the night when he heard the crash.

“I heard a big bang, four times; bang, bang, bang, bang. I knew straight away it was a crash, then saw the car was rolled over.”

The power plinth has been restored but it will take longer to replace the brick posting that has been thrown several metres. Photo / Kiri Gillespie
The power plinth has been restored but it will take longer to replace the brick posting that has been thrown several metres. Photo / Kiri Gillespie

Savi was about to call 111 but noticed a neighbour was already on the phone and the drivers who had been travelling behind the car had stopped to check on the driver. Savi went out onto the road to direct traffic. Later, he provided the woman whose home was involved with candles and a torch to help her until power could be restored.

“I was a little bit shocked. I thought it was a police chase, but it wasn’t. It all happened so fast,” Savi said.

About 24 hours earlier, two pedestrians were killed in a crash involving a motorcycle on the 50km/h section of State Highway 2, near the crossing at the Bethlehem shops.

A police spokesperson said another two people received minor injuries.

Bethlehem resident Glenna Christensen said she heard “these awful noises” and initially thought kids had been fighting and got hurt but “within minutes there were so many sirens”.

Having just moved to the area, Christensen said she was in her shed unpacking when she heard the commotion.

“I could see about six cop cars, ambulances and a fire engine. Lots of people were out near the road,” Christensen said.

Christensen said she was shocked to hear two people had died.

– Additional reporting NZ Herald



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