' Hutt men killed in car smash '

Two Lower Hutt men were killed in a head-on crash on Centennial Highway on Saturday, 17th April, bringing further calls for improvements to the road leading north from Wellington. Michael David Maurice Dearsley, 64, driving south in a Hyundai and a 50 year old Darryl David Zohs, also from Lower Hutt. Driving north in a Nissan station wagon, died in the 3.15pm collision. Mr Dearsley whose car crossed the centerline, died at the scene, while Mr Zohs died shortly after being admitted to hospital. It took emergency services three and a half hours to clear the site. Police Senior Sergeant Andrea Jopling said post-mortems on the men would be carried out as part of an investigation.

The crash occurred the day after transit announced a 340 % increase, to $880 million, in the projected cost of the Transmission Gully route, a four lane highway through the hills east of the Coast which would include a barrier down the centerline. Ms Jopling said that had a barrier divided traffic on Saturday, Mr Dearsley's car may have side-swiped another vehicle or the barrier , but would not have hit the other car head on. Sergeant Ron Walker, who attended Saturday's accident, said the road needed something done about it, "but I can't see what. Most of the accidents we've attended there lately have involved a car crossing the center line." Paekakariki Volunteer Fire Brigade deputy chief Michael Jackson said motorists seemed resigned to the delays. He had reports from residents on Paekakariki Hill Road that diverted traffic had also choked that road. "It was stopped dead. " Yesterday fire chief Ash Richardson, a long-time vocal proponent for road improvement along the stretch, said he had almost given up. " I never thought Transmission Gully was going to ahead. The Western Corridor is useless, as soon as there is an emergency everything grinds to a halt."
He remembers people talking about an alternative route since his family moved to the area in 1960. " How long have we been talking about the problem ? The whole coastal route is going to come to a complete standstill." He estimated that over the last six months the road in and out of Wellington had been closed for an average of five hours a month due to emergencies. He said that did not include slow rush hour traffic, just those times when, through flooding or crashes, the road became impassable. "All we need is a big tide and a high wind and we're in trouble." He had given up "pulling my hair out" as he could not see anything was going to be done. "We just go and (clean up the mess), and come back to the station.".....

2004 The Hutt News

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' He was a real sweetie '

TOMMORROW marks five years to the day since 27-year old Craig Wyman lost his life in a head-on crash near Paekakariki. Craigs' mother, Andrea, says the death of her son was "completely devastating". She and her husband were holidaying in Malaysia when they received the news their second-born child had died. Their oldest son had to identify his brother's body and was still haunted by it, Mrs Wyman says.

"Craig's death affected the whole family. It really altered things, it changed the psyche of the family." She still misses her son, who was the "softie" of the family. She thinks about him every day and whenever she drives past the accident spot she says hello.
"He just pops into my mind all the time. He was a real sweatie."
Mrs Wyman and her family are convinced their son would be alive today if improvements had been made to the road, or if Transmission Gully had gone ahead.
She believes her son drifted to sleep at the wheel, causing him to cross to the oncoming lane. If the road were not so narrow, or there was a median barrier, she wouldn't have lost her son, she says. "It's just a very, very dangerous road. But it's ruled by money. They [the Government] are not prepared to spend anything on it."
"When you hear of another crash, you just think, 'Oh, another one gone,' another family affected. Just for the greedy buggers who do the wrong things with money......

2004 Fairfax New Zealand

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' Driver has lucky escape '

A woman was rescued from her car teetering on the side of a Paekakariki bank.
Police believe the woman driver probably fell asleep at the wheel about 3:00pm on Sunday.

Acting Senior Sergeant Stu Lawrie said the northbound car hit a kerb, spun into a car park and came to a stop teetering on the edge of a 4 ½ metre bank above the foreshore.
Mr Lawrie said the Christchurch woman was lucky to escape injury. The car was badly damaged......

2004 Fairfax New Zealand

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' Tired Drivers Urged to Rest'

Kapiti Coast

Two crashes caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel on the Kapiti Coast last weekend have prompted a warning from police.

An elderly woman hit a concrete barrier on the Raumati straight at 7.20 am on Sunday after she fell asleep.
She suffered cuts and abrasions and her car was towed away after being badly damaged......

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' Tired Drivers Urged to Rest'

South of Waikanae

Later the same day, the driver of a north-bound car veered over the centreline and collided with two south-bound cars on State Highway 1, south of Waikanae. Traffic was delayed for several hours while emergency services cleared the road. The drivers and passengers of all three cars suffered minor injuries.

Acting Senior Sergeant Stu Lawrie said drivers should be sensible and pull over and have a rest if they felt tired. They should also take advantage of 'driver reviver' services which operate regularly on State Highway 1 in Kapiti during the holiday weekends......

©2004 Fairfax New Zealand

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