‘Lights only solution’: Grandad


A campaigning Queenstowner says traffic lights at a crossing will stop more kids suffering gruesome injuries like his grandson.

David Palmer has lobbied for alterations to the Stanley Street zebra crossing since young Kenn Ishi-Palmer was run over there in July.

Kenn, eight, sustained a compound fracture to his leg when he was struck by an SUV.

He’s still recovering. Palmer wrote to the mayor Vanessa van Uden and has been in talks with the NZ Transport Agency over the junction.

Council bosses announced on Tuesday that lights will be installed there early next year.

Palmer says: “I think it’s an excellent move and the sooner the better.

“It’s a very, very dangerous situation - everyone we talk to says so.

“I went there a few days after the accident to take photos and saw another child almost hit in the same way.”

Palmer says there were no legal threats, just communication and his measured pleas.

“I wrote what I thought was a pretty convincing letter.

“I think they knew I wasn’t going to let it go.”

The agency has also been good, he says - “we’ve spent quite a bit of time talking about the options”.

Palmer says he understands the reluctance to have traffic lights installed at the crossing, by the mini-roundabout with Ballarat St.

But he says it’s the only practical solution as if the crossing is moved, people will still cross at the original place.

Lights will also be installed at the Stanley St and Shotover St junction. They’ll cost less than $600,000 in total and should be operational by April.

The driver of the SUV that hit Kenn - Fernhill man Owen Robert Darby, 32 - was banned from driving for six months, fined $750 and was ordered to pay $2500 to the boy.

His lawyer told the court in September he was extremely remorseful - “an absolute mess”.

The front right wheel of his SUV ran over Kenn’s leg, breaking it in several places and causing the bone to pierce the skin.

Darby had been in the left-hand lane and, his view of pedestrians blocked by a van in the right lane, failed to stop in time.

Kenn spent seven weeks in a plaster cast so heavy he couldn’t walk, but he’s on the mend.

“Kenn’s pretty well recovered, he’s in good shape,” Palmer says.

“He’s still got a bit of physiotherapy going on but give it a few months and he’ll be totally back to normal running around.”

Safety patrols will be stationed at the crossing over the holidays.