Pair pre­vent car crash

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Frank Collins and Leo Wil­son were the right mo­torists to be fol­low­ing an el­derly man driv­ing dan­ger­ously.

The two men used their cars to ‘‘box in’’ an­other ve­hi­cle, pre­vent­ing what po­lice be­lieve would have been ‘‘ a se­ri­ous crash or fatal­ity’’.

About 7pm on May 9, Mr Collins and Mr Wil­son were be­hind a car ap­proach­ing Pare­mata round­about on SH58. The car, which did not have its lights on de­spite the dark­ness, hit the me­dian bar­rier and then went to make a right turn at the round­about, into on­com­ing traf­fic head­ing south off the bridge.

When the car went up onto the round­about in­stead, Mr Collins and Mr Wil­son im­me­di­ately drove up on ei­ther side and ‘‘boxed him in’’, Mr Wil­son said.

‘‘He tried to ac­cel­er­ate off but I re­moved the keys from the ig­ni­tion. He told me to ‘bug­ger off’, he was adamant he had to get home and ac­tu­ally got out a sec­ond set of keys and tried to start the car up again. He was quite stressed.’’

The 92-year-old driver had vis­ited his wife in Welling­ton Hospi­tal, dropped his son home in Whitby and then was head­ing to his own home in Waikanae. Po­lice, who were called to the scene on the round­about, be­lieve the man got dis­ori­ented in the dark­ness and pan­icked. He was driven home by po­lice and they are as­sess­ing whether he should re­tain a driver’s li­cence.

Mr Collins and Mr Wil­son were pre­sented with cer­tifi­cates of ap­pre­ci­a­tion from Kapiti Mana Po­lice area com­man­der John Price last Tues­day.

Mr Price said while they never en­cour­age peo­ple to put them­selves at risk, the pair’s quick think­ing averted a cer­tain tragedy.

‘‘I’m sure if [the el­derly mo­torist] had con­tin­ued on there would have been a se­ri­ous crash or a fatal­ity. These two men acted quickly, they could have made the choice not to get in­volved but they had the com­mu­nity’s safety in mind and made a call.’’

Mr Collins – fa­ther of All Black Jerry Collins – said the el­derly man’s head was barely vis­i­ble above the steer­ing wheel and he thought a child was driv­ing.

‘‘He was all over the road. I was think­ing ‘if I can get past him, I can stop him’ and then when he went onto the round­about I saw I had the chance.’’

Mr Wil­son says, ‘‘The safety of the public was para­mount, we just acted.’’

Good Sa­mar­i­tans: The oc­cu­pa­tions of Frank Collins, left, who works for Down­ers and of­ten cleans up road ac­ci­dent sites, and Leo Wil­son, a men­tal health worker and nurse, led to po­lice to claim they were ‘‘the per­fect pair’’ to pre­vent a pos­si­ble calamity.

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