Two serious crashes near Rotorua have police pleading with Bay of Plenty drivers to not make December another horrific month on the roads.
One driver is lucky to be alive after falling asleep at the wheel on State Highway 5, south of Waimangu Rd at Ngakuru. The man's car clipped an oncoming truck, causing the car to bounce off the truck and crash into a ditch. The crash happened around 10.50am yesterday.
The driver was trapped in the car, but was cut free. He was in a critical, but stable, condition when he was airlifted to Rotorua Hospital by the Tenon Rescue Helicopter.
Around the same time, a logging truck rolled on State Highway 5 north of Rotorua, 10km south of the Fitzgerald Glade.
The truck spilled its logs across the road, causing one lane to be closed to traffic for more than two hours.
The driver, who worked for a Whakatane firm, was trapped in the cab for 45 minutes before being cut free. He was treated for leg, arm and neck injuries by St John Ambulance staff before being taken to Waikato Hospital, in a serious condition, by the Westpac Waikato Air Ambulance.
Senior Sergeant Ed van den Broek of the Rotorua Police Strategic Traffic Unit said both crashes had the potential to cause fatalities. He said 12 people were killed on Bay of Plenty roads in December last year.
"That is a horrendous result. December is a silly month. People are in too much of a hurry and are not taking the proper rest stops and breaks. We want to make sure there are as many families as possible sitting around the dinner table at Christmas time and not morning the loss of a loved one."
©2005 Rotorua Daily Post.