Driver’s seizure leads to roundabout mayhem
Only sheer luck and the quick reactions of a passenger averted a more dangerous crash when a car plunged through traffic at a Paremata roundabout while the driver was gripped by a seizure.
The 70-year-old Horowhenua driver had just exited from the large Paremata roundabout on State Highway 1 after midday on November 30, and was entering the smaller roundabout leading towards Pauatahanui Inlet when he had a seizure.
‘‘As he came around the roundabout he had a seizure and had the foot hard on the accelerator,’’ constable Wolfgang Haist said.
‘‘They ended up going the wrong way around the little roundabout and the friend on the passenger’s side grabbed the steering wheel and pulled it towards him, and that prevented them going head first into a wall, and they ended up doing a 180 and going off the road into the water pipe.’’
The car knocked over a lamppost, sideswiped an embankment where it dislodged about 10 metres of metal fence railing, crossed four lanes of traffic and collided head on with a large concrete block housing water mains, wedging the car over the top of it.
‘‘It was quite fortunate that they missed every other car on the road, because it was quite busy,’’ Mr Haist said.
‘‘The [other drivers] just braked hard and were able to avoid the car as it crossed in front of them.’’
At least four other cars were travelling through the intersection at the time.
The man’s white BMW sedan, which was ‘‘his pride and joy’’, likely also reduced the resulting trauma, Mr Haist said. ‘‘They were in a very nice big safe car.’’ As a result of the accident the driver suffered a minor back injury, he was taken to hospital by Wellington Free Ambulance. The passenger was unhurt.
‘‘He wasn’t going fast, but it certainly could have been much worse. There was nothing he could have done,’’ Mr Haist said.
Roundabout scare: A car narrowly avoided nearby traffic when it plunged through a Paremata roundabout out of control after the driver suffered a seizure.