Car crashes, taking man’s life
Michael Ritchie couldn’t face holding the critically injured woman’s hand.
Driving the country’s highways for a living, the Cambridge father has often seen the aftermath of accidents.
But to arrive home from a week-long work trip to find carnage on his doorstep was enough to bring the typically staunch truckie to tears.
‘‘To hop out and see that on your own front yard - to watch someone die - that got to me after all the miles I have done.’’
Ritchie had not long been home when he heard the ‘‘thud, thud, thud’’ as the fleeing red sedan rolled down Scott St in Leamington.
A 27-year-old male passenger from Hamilton died at the scene. Two other passengers - including the woman thrown from the car - were in Waikato Hospital.
Police charged the 34-year-old driver, who allegedly fled from a police officer who tried to pull him over in Cambridge.
An off-duty police officer spotted the car speeding and driving dangerously and called police.
When a police unit caught up with the car and flicked on the sirens and lights, the driver sped away down Scott St.
About halfway down the street the car mounted the kerb, hit the back of a parked car, and smashed into a wooden fence propelling it into the air.
One of the passengers, a woman in her early 20s, was flung from the car. She landed on the grass verge, next to a power pole, on the corner opposite where the car ended up.
‘‘I found her and when I got there - there was no life in her. I thought it was a body. She was barely breathing,’’ Ritchie said.
Ritchie’s neighbour came running over. She brought blankets.
‘‘One of the ladies started talking to her and holding her hand. But I’ve been through it before and I didn’t want to hold her hand, didn’t want to get attached.’’
Emergency services arrived and began CPR on one of the two remaining passengers.
Further down the street, Peter Andreason saw the driver jump out of the car without a scratch.
‘‘He tried to bunk it, but we saw him,’’ Andreason said.
The driver made it almost to the street corner before other residents grabbed him and brought him back to the crash scene, he said.
The driver was to appear in Hamilton District Court.
Peter Andreason was sipping coffee in his lounge when the fleeing driver crashed into his fence.