Crimeline: Road tragedy near Clyde

4 minutes read
Posted 28 March, 2024
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In a sombre precursor to the busy Easter holiday weekend the male driver of a car has died after allegedly overtaking a truck and trailer unit, crashing head on into another truck travelling towards him near Clyde.

Otago Lakes Central area road policing manager Sergeant Steve Watt says it appears that the car, believed to be a Subaru, has crashed underneath the front right of an oncoming 10-tonne truck during the head on collision.

Witnesses said the driver of the car appeared to be passing a large truck and trailer unit at the time, heading towards Alexandra on State Highway 8 between Clyde and Cromwell at 6.35am. He was believed to be on his way to work, Watt says.

Police are currently going through a formal identification process to identify the driver and the Serious Crash Unit and commercial vehicle safety team are investigating. The driver of the oncoming truck, headed towards Cromwell, escaped with only a minor injury, but there was extensive damage to both vehicles involved, with the truck and trailer unit also extensively damaged.

The main highway was closed until about 4pm.

“It’s an absolutely tragic start to what’s soon to be a long-weekend Easter break,” Watt says. “Unfortunately, a family is not going to have Easter with their loved one. We want everyone to be able to do that safely and extend our condolences to his family.”

Victim Support has been engaged and its services have been offered to everyone involved.

Police and emergency services were alerted immediately by the drivers of the other vehicles involved.

Be patient and plan ahead

“We encourage drivers to be patient and plan their journey with the long weekend coming up so there’s no frustration if there are hold-ups on our roads,” Watt says.

With Wanaka Warbirds being a huge drawcard to the area this Easter, on top of the usual long holiday weekend crowds, roads will be “jam packed” and there will be a lot of traffic, he says.

“Be patient. As always speed is the message. It’s the biggest contributing factor to accidents.”

Extra road policing units will be in the region over the holiday break and on Thursday, 28 March, a ‘fatigue stop’ offering free food and coffee will be set up on the roadside at Tarras. Alexandra Lions will be operating the barbecue with AMI Insurance running a coffee cart, all in conjunction with the Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago district councils, Watt says.

The Police Road Impairment Team will have a huge presence on local roads throughout the Southern District over the long weekend, so drivers can expect checkpoints and random breath testing.

“Be courteous, be kind, plan your journey and don’t rush.”

Almost six times the legal limit

An Australian male tourist was convicted of driving with excess breath alcohol after blowing 1491mcgs – almost six times the legal limit, when he’d been observed by Police to be swerving in his lane and crossing the median strip on Frankton Road around 11pm on 22 March.

Community and Youth Constable Amanda Shute says the driver appeared in the Queenstown District Court on Monday, 25 March, and was disqualified from driving in New Zealand for 12 months and ordered to pay a $1500 fine.

Parents – where are your kids?

All local parents are being asked to be vigilant about where their teenagers are with reports of youths congregating in the streets in the Lake Hayes Estate area consuming alcohol and causing disturbances.

“Know where your kids are and keep in communication with their friends’ parents so that you know they are where they’re supposed to be,” Shute says. “It’s important to get this message out with the school holidays coming up. Know where they are, who they’re with and what they’re doing.”

Parents need to be responsible for what their kids are drinking as well so that these 15 and 16-year-old kids don’t get into trouble, she says. Police will be patrolling the areas where they’ve been congregating.

“We often see an increase in this type of behaviour during holiday breaks, kids getting up to mischief, so parents need to get involved or police will be called and deal with it.”

Graffiti artists on rampage

Police want help in catching those responsible for a rampage of graffiti art lately in the central Queenstown area. “We’ve just had an increase in reporting of graffiti, even in the outer area, not just the CBD,” Shute says. Two young males were spotted by Police allegedly drawing graffiti on a fencepost at the Coronation Drive and Park Street intersection on 23 March.

“As soon as they realised Police had seen them, they ran off to the Queenstown Bay Playground,” she says. “Unfortunately, we don’t have much of a description, but they were definitely youths, two males of medium to slight build, wearing dark clothes and one had a black backpack.”

Police have also had reports of graffiti appearing in the Industrial Place area off Gorge Road. “It’s important to report this to us and to the Queenstown Lakes District Council so their staff can cover it over,” Shute says.

Wallet stolen from car

Blasé residents are being urged to lock their cars and houses and keep valuables out of sight after a wallet was stolen from an unlocked car in Oregon Drive during the past week.

“Don’t be complacent. Lock your cars and secure any valuables out of sight. Lock your house also.”

Police have carried out forensics and are investigating.


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