Re­ally hard pill to swal­low’

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

Phillips said ‘‘I was in dis­be­lief when I saw the size of that ob­ject that it hadn’t caused an­other fa­tal­ity . . . Two very sim­i­lar sce­nar­ios with two very dif­fer­ent out­comes.’’

He be­lieved the truck driver in­volved in the in­ci­dent near Queen­stown knew who they were but wasn’t com­ing for­ward, pos­si­bly for fear of prose­cu­tion.

With the in­crease in build­ing sites in the area and the in­crease in traf­fic on the road, it wasn’t go­ing to be the last crash caused by in­se­cure loads, he said.

‘‘It’s bad enough driv­ing on South Is­land roads at the best of times, then hav­ing to deal with things fall­ing off (ve­hi­cles),’’ he said.

Oylear said: ‘‘I’m re­ally glad to hear those kids are OK and they didn’t have to go through what I did.’’

The in­ci­dent gave her a sense that the crash that killed Hale was ‘‘not just a freak ac­ci­dent’’, she said.

De­spite the Oc­to­ber crash tak­ing away the love of her life she wanted to stay on in the area.

‘‘Why wouldn’t you? I came here with the in­ten­tional of this be­ing home.

‘‘I feel close to Rut­ger here. I feel it would be harder for me if I leave.

‘‘We wanted to be near the moun­tains.’’

She had made lots of friends since the crash but it wasn’t easy be­ing with­out the man she loved.

‘‘It’s been hard. I’m strug­gling right now . . . I guess, find­ing my place,’’ she said.

Night­mares and flash­backs are af­fect­ing one of the teens who nar­rowly dodged death when a piece of fly­ing steel punched through a car wind­screen near Queen­stown two week­ends ago.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened on the Lower Shotover bridge about 2pm on Satur­day, May 3, when a roughly 90 cen­time­tre, four kilo­gram piece of steel flew from a truck trailer and punched through the bot­tom of Casey Booth’s wind­screen. The piece of metal grazed his lit­tle fin­ger then veered up and cleared a four cen­time­tre gap be­tween the heads of Booth and his pas­sen­ger Katie Scott.

Af­ter me­dia re­ports a wit­ness who saw some­thing fly from the truc came for­ward to Queen­stown po­lice. How­ever po­lice have not yet made fur­ther progress in track­ing down the driver.

Al­most two weeks af­ter the in­ci­dent, 16-year-old Katie Scott, who lives in Moss­burn, is still shaken.

‘‘Me and my­mumhad to drive back over the same bridge the next day and I just bawled my eyes out when we hit the point that it hap­pened. That night I had night­mares and I’ve had a few flash­backs since then, where I see the steel fly­ing to­wards us.’’

There was no ques­tion in her mind that if the steel hit the wind­screen at a dif­fer­ent an­gle it would have eas­ily killed her or Booth, who is a friend, or both of them.

Af­ter the near miss Booth’s pinkie fin­ger got in­fected and the stress of the in­ci­dent ru­ined his plans to give up smok­ing.

‘‘I’m back on the cig­gies now af­ter hav­ing a good crack at giv­ing up. I’m also left with a car that’s prob­a­bly only go­ing to be good for scrap, so the sit­u­a­tion’s a bit grim, but I know that we’re both re­ally lucky to still be here.’’


Nerves of steel: Six­teen-year-old Katie Scott has had night­mares and flash­backs about the mo­ment a 90cm, 4kg piece of steel flew through the wind­screen of a car she was a pas­sen­ger in.


Rut­ger Hale.

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