Truck with no driver hits mall

Western Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - DANIELLE CLENT

A truck with no driver has crashed into an Auck­land mall.

A po­lice spokesper­son said the crash hap­pened at around 3.30pm on June 26 when a truck and trailer unit crashed into the side of North­west Shop­ping Cen­tre on the cor­ner of Tawhia Drive and Maki St.

Eye­wit­ness Sa­man­tha Ben­nett was wait­ing at the traf­fic lights to con­tinue onto Tawhia Drive when she saw the Spe­cialised Trans­port Ltd truck head­ing straight for her.

‘‘It was quite sur­real,’’ she said. ‘‘It was very, very freaky. I just kept think­ing he’s go­ing to turn, surely he’s turn­ing into the road but then, no.’’

She said she man­aged to swerve around the truck as it came at her and saw it ‘‘plough’’ into the Farm­ers store.

She pulled over to the side of the road and went to check on the driver.

‘‘No-one was there,’’ When­u­a­pai res­i­dent said.

After wait­ing around for about 10 min­utes, she said the truck driver came out of Farm­ers to see the truck crashed into the side of the build­ing.

Ben­nett said she ex­pected there to be a loud bang, but in­stead it was a ‘‘scrap­ing’’ noise as the bar­ri­ers that block mo­torists from turn­ing left on Maki St slowed the truck down.

The near miss left her shak­ing, and it took hours to calm her nerves, she said.

North­west Shop­ping Cen­tre man­ager Jen­nifer An­drews said the

‘‘I just kept think­ing he's go­ing to turn, surely he's turn­ing into the road but then, no.’’

Sa­man­tha Ben­nett

the da­m­age to Farm­ers’ win­dow dis­play was min­i­mal. The cen­tre’s man­age­ment team put se­cu­rity staff at the scene and called an emer­gency glass ex­pert to se­cure the dam­aged win­dow.

She said it was up to each party’s in­surer to de­cide how re­pair costs would be cov­ered.

The po­lice spokesper­son said there were no injuries, and traf­fic was not dis­rupted be­cause of the crash. It took about two-and-a-half hours for the truck to be re­moved from its wedged po­si­tion, and was seen driv­ing off at about 5.53pm.

No other emer­gency ser­vices were called to the scene, the po­lice spokesper­son said.

The spokesper­son said ini­tial re­ports from the scene backed the claim there was no-one in the truck at the time of the crash.

Spe­cialised Trans­port Ltd did not re­spond to mul­ti­ple at­tempts for com­ment.

DANIELLE CLENT/FAIRFAX NZ

The truck and trailer that crashed into the mall is a Spe­cialised Trans­port Ltd truck.

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