Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Crossing the line...

Head On Collision

This is probably the one and the only time that I will ever seriously write about something that happened specifically in my life, and not be talking absolute garbage… so officially: guard is to be let down, for better or worse, please yourself…


So anyway, nice wee drive down to Dunedin, leave Christchurch around 6:30pm or so, go through all the usual pass through towns (sometimes calling them a town is a bit generous) tried to find a KFriedC in Timaru (upper roo), spent about fifteen minutes driving around, that was long enough, so we left Timaru feeling cheated knowing that we would have to wait until Oamaru (lower roo) to obtain adequate sustenance. So we made it to Oamaru KFChic about 9.50pm approx., (trust me the story gets better... well more interesting anyway). After they mucked us round for a while getting our faux-chicken pieces, we finally left Oamaru around 10:25pm intent on reaching Dunedin (Dunners) by at least 11:45 or so, this was not to be….

coulda been a minute either way... blows my mind
I was driving by the way, and the light truck I had been following South for a good few Km’s was nicely rounding each corner at around the speed limit or just below, what I would describe as good driving. As it was going at a good speed and there had been fog earlier in the trip, I was using the truck and its lights like a pace vehicle 15 to 20 metres in front of me, so I could see all the turns in the road before we reached them.

About three Kilometres before we reached Palmerston (a sort of town 57km north-east of Dunedin.) at around 10:55pm, we saw an unusual sight. That was the sight of headlights crossing the centre line in front of us and ploughing into the light truck less than 20 metres in front of us. What happened directly after the impact I’m not entirely sure, due to both the speed of what occurred and the fact that it was night time in the middle of cow paddocks (on state highway one). Pretty much your eyes play tricks on you. But the facts as we’ve been told by police who examined the crash sight, and have worked out for ourselves are this: the truck rolled at least once ending up sideways, upright on its wheels, the scaffolding the truck was carrying was spread around the road a bit, but miraculously none hit my car. I fully locked up my brakes and managed to stop after passing through the impact zone, and going over some debris and stopping on some car parts. The car which crossed the centre line hitting the truck ended up landing about 25 metres behind us, which basically meant that directly after impact it either flipped in the air over my car, or along the ground very near. When I say it ended up 25 metres away in a ditch, with the sole occupant being ejected from the vehicle and dying pretty much instantaneously, I mean most of the car did. Other parts were underneath my bumper and pretty much all over the road. Luckily none of the occupants of my car (there were four including me) were harmed at all, only a bit shaken. The only damage to my car was a slightly smashed and cracked windscreen (still drivable though), a bit of a dent in the bumper, and other assorted dents and scrapes from flying debris.

As my car was basically in the middle of what the police referred to as a crime scene, I had to leave it there so it could be photographed (and spray painted) by the crash investigation team. At approx. 2.30am or so we we’re given a lift to the Palmerston police station/kiosk/room (had cool firearms poster), then after a few weird conversations with 'victim support' and a coffee/tea, we were given a ride in a police van the rest of the way to Mock’s flat in central Dunedin (making it there around 4.00am), where we proceeded to tell him the story and ingest some alcohol and cannabis, to calm the nerves.

The next day we found out, both drivers were intoxicated. The police had received several complaints of erratic driving about the car travelling north directly prior to the accident. We we’re really, really, really, really fucking lucky to get off, the way we did.

Here is how this incident was described the next day in the ‘Otago Daily Times’ (motto: Accuracy, what’s that?) thusly: (by the way Car 3 was us...)

As there were at least nine other deaths on New Zealand roads that weekend (usually there’s only one or two) the story was combined with the other road fatality news and shortened down to three lines, they read:

“Tautatao Taiti, 46, of Oamaru, was killed when the car she was driving crossed the centre line and collided with a light truck travelling south about 11pm Friday near Palmerston, 57km north-east of Dunedin.”

This was in The Christchurch Press on Monday:

We were the ones described as a "carload of youths", (first news article I've ever seen that portaits 'youths' in a positive way) it doesn't mention that the other "carload of youths" was a bunch of drunk 16 year olds from Oamaru, who pretended to commit sodomy (quite loudly) at the crash site.... this is sorta therapy who/how do I blame? what went wrong... did I put people at harm or save them, what if we'd been hit we'd be dead... coulda been so differrent... like I don't know...Guess that sums it up pretty well. Might fly next time… i just don't quite know how to feel about it all now, especially the dead lady..., like ya know do I hold it against her in any way at all? can I do I have the right to, I m not dead but did i bring my mates close to harm... how do you deal with that shit on a friday night road trip ... fucken fucks sake really, shocked was half the story....


Tim said...

and can you sue her for the damage to your car??

Fuck man you guys came off real lucky... Thought that stuff only happened in the movies

Rupert said...

You're such a dumbass, KFC is opposite South Mall, on George Street... Couldn't find the KFC... Man, that's some story... I didn't read the rest of the post, I assume you got to Oamaru and found the KFC there since it's on the main road, and then continued your journey without incident. Well, see ya round.