Fast reaction prevents tragedy

Lucky escape on Annesbrook roundabout
By Nelson Mail writer: BILL MOORE

A Richmond woman is counting her lucky stars after a large digger tumbled off a truck and landed right where she and her small daughter had been moments before in their little commuter car.

Adrienne Ford said “everything just went into slow motion” as a truck came around the Annesbrook roundabout where she had stopped “right on the white line” on her way to Nelson yesterday afternoon.

“I could see that huge big yellow thing coming directly at me. It was absolutely heart-stopping. My instincts kicked in. I quickly glanced back – there wasn’t a car behind me. I slammed my gear shift into reverse. It definitely would have hit me.”

Ms Ford snapped a photo of the scene before being waved on by the truck driver, who she said looked “absolutely furious” when he got out of his cab. In her view, however, he should be facing charges. “It was incredibly dangerous.”

She said she was very lucky that there were no other vehicles behind her Toyota Echo at the usually busy time on Whakatu Dr. If there had been, she would have had no option but to reverse into them to avoid the falling digger.

The accident happened about 3.10pm, and the truck and digger’s owner, Duane Whiting, said he had the road cleared before 4.45pm. The truck had been on its way to the Duane Whiting Contractors yard in nearby Beatty St, and he organised a crane to retrieve the digger.

It was too soon to tell how badly the digger was damaged, or what caused the accident, Mr Whiting said. “We don’t know whether it was a mechanical fault or driver error.”

He said police attended the accident but it was too early to say whether any charges would be faced.

The driver was “a wee bit” shaken up, but pleased that no-one had been harmed.