Fa­tigue blamed for fa­tal car crash

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - LAURA DOONEY

‘‘I was scream­ing, ‘What can I do, I can’t go any­where’.’’

A woman driving south on the Kapiti Coast screamed, ‘‘What do I do, I can’t go any­where,’’ as a small red car driven by a 79-yearold woman veered across the road, and into her car.

Te Rauoriwa Daphne Po­mare, who was driving the red car, later died from her in­juries af­ter the crash on State High­way 1 at Paekakariki on Oc­to­ber 23.

Po­mare was the first Maori woman de­tec­tive, and at the time of her death was de­scribed as an ‘‘amaz­ing woman’’.

She was driving north from Welling­ton to her home in Levin when the crash hap­pened, af­ter fly­ing from Perth to Auck­land, then on to the cap­i­tal that morn­ing. She had been in Western Aus­tralia vis­it­ing fam­ily.

Coro­ner CJ Devon­port said it was likely Po­mare swerved into on­com­ing traf­fic as she fell into a ‘‘mi­cro-sleep’’, in which the per- son af­fected fails to re­spond to out­side in­for­ma­tion, but might still have their eyes open.

Her ex­haus­tion could have been caused by her long jour­ney from Perth, and the fact it would have felt like 1am Western Aus­tralia time as she drove to­wards Levin.

Wit­nesses de­scribed see­ing the red Toy­ota Star­let swerve across the cen­tre line as Po­mare trav­elled north.

Jes­sica Le­m­ana was driving her car south with her part­ner, mother, and daugh­ter in the car. In the evidence she gave to the coro­ner, she said she saw the Star- let swerv­ing ‘‘in and out of the cen­tre lane two or three times’’.

‘‘I was scream­ing, ‘What can I do, I can’t go any­where’.’’

Le­m­ana slowed down to about 20kmh and pulled to the left as she tried to avoid the car com­ing to­wards her. All four peo­ple in her car were in­jured, with two need­ing to be treated at Welling­ton Hospi­tal.

Wit­nessess fol­low­ing Po­mare said they saw her car, trav­el­ling about 70kmh, swerve and hit Le­m­ana’s car, with­out brak­ing.

The coro­ner ruled the cause of Po­mare’s death was an aor­tic dis­sec­tion, caused by the crash.

Te Rauoriwa Daphne Po­mare died from crash in­juries.

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