Hero cop to res­cue

Waikato Times - - Front Page - PHILLIPA YALDEN

‘‘I could see straight away, beads of sweat were run­ning off him. He had no idea what was hap­pen­ing.’’ Sergeant Rob Pierce

Sergeant Rob Pierce didn’t hes­i­tate.

With the seiz­ing driver fast ap­proach­ing the cor­ner of a 100kmh stretch, the Te Awa­mutu po­lice of­fi­cer could only think ‘‘how do I stop this?’’ So he pulled out in front.

‘‘It all hap­pened so fast,’’ Pierce told

Stuff as he re­flected on the in­ci­dent yes­ter­day.

‘‘I was just thank­ful noth­ing came round the cor­ner when we were on that side of the road, some­one would have been se­ri­ously in­jured or died, no doubt about it.’’

It was lunchtime on Mon­day and Pierce was head­ing to Ngaru­awahia to com­plete a health and safety au­dit.

Along Pat­erangi Rd he came across a large truck chug­ging along the straight at 60kmh in a 100km zone.

He nudged out from be­hind and caught sight of the lit­tle red Toy­ota strad­dling the cen­tre­line.

Pierce knew ‘‘some­thing wasn’t right’’.

‘‘I over­took the truck and got in be­hind the red car with my lights and sirens go­ing and he just car­ried on about 60km an hour.

‘‘Then he just swerved across into the right hand lane, com­pletely in the wrong lane.’’

At first Pierce thought the driver may have been a tourist, pan­icked over which side of the road to travel on.

‘‘So I pulled up be­side him – I was in my lane, he was in the wrong lane.’’

Pierce waved at the the driver, but got no re­sponse.

His eyes were fix­ated and un­wa­ver­ing from the road ahead, Pierce said.

‘‘He was still con­scious but look­ing straight ahead. Even with the lights and sirens, and me wav­ing at him – he had no idea I was there.’’

Liv­ing on the same road, Pierce knew the cor­ner on the 100km stretch was fast ap­proach­ing.

Pierce ac­cel­er­ated.

He slipped the pa­trol car across the cen­tre­line and in front of the Toy­ota.

‘‘Then I just started to slow down un­til he hit me in the back of the car.’’

Both cars slowed to a stop on the right hand side of the tar­mac.

Pulling up the hand­brake, Pierce called for backup and went to check on the driver.

He found the 62-year-old with his foot still on the ac­cel­er­a­tor. The wheels of the car were spin­ning in the gravel be­neath.

‘‘I could see straight away, beads of sweat were run­ning off him.

‘‘He had no idea what was hap­pen­ing.’’

Af­ter a few min­utes the driver came round. He could tell Pierce his name, but had no mem­ory of the pre­vi­ous mo­ments or how he ended up on the wrong side of the road.

It turns out the driver was suf­fer­ing a seizure.

The man was taken by am­bu­lance to Waikato Hospi­tal for assess­ment.

Pierce later found out he’d only just had his driver’s li­cence re­turned af­ter a 12-month stand-down fol­low­ing a pre­vi­ous episode.

He also wanted to thank the truck driver who jumped out be­hind the cars to slow traf­fic down.

Think­ing back on the in­ci­dent, Pierce said it all seemed ‘‘quite sur­real’’.

‘‘You don’t think too much about the bad con­se­quences of what could have hap­pened un­til af­ter­wards.

‘‘I’m just glad I came across him on the par­tic­u­lar piece of road I did, and that I was there.’’

Be­ing a pro­tec­tion of­fi­cer for primem­i­nis­te­rial ser­vices based in the Waikato, Pierce has com­pleted ad­vanced driver train­ing cour­ses on race tracks around the coun­try.

But Mon­day’s events were a far cry from his typ­i­cal desk job as a pre­ven­tion sergeant for the south­west­ern Waikato.

He’s been in the force 25 years and never made a move like it.

‘‘I guess when you go to work as a po­lice of­fi­cer, you never know what you’re go­ing to get called to.’’

That night Pierce re­turned home to his home on Pat­erangi Rd when a Toll truck drove past.

‘‘If that had been ear­lier on to­day, some­one would have died.’’

PHOTO: CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

Sergeant Rob Pierce used his car to block and stop a a driver who was suf­fer­ing from a med­i­cal in­ci­dent, nar­rowly avoid­ing a head-on col­li­sion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.