A shocked Queenstown man likened his home town to Zimbabwe after watching motorists ignore a sick man lying in the gutter.
Ian Paterson was driving into Queenstown on Frankton Road at about 9.45am on Monday when he noticed “something in the gutter that looked suspiciously like a body” near the Pounamu Apartments.
“I stopped the car and went back and sure enough, here’s this semi-conscious male lying in the gutter,” says Paterson.
“I don’t know how long he’d been lying there, so I don’t know how many cars had driven past before me – going in both directions – I mean it was plainly obvious that it was a body.
“I raced back and still cars kept driving past, no one stopped to help me. I was blown away – I thought this isn’t Queenstown, I’ve lived here for 27 years.”
The man, thought to be of Indian or Polynesian ethnicity in his late 20s or early 30s, couldn’t talk and was foaming at the mouth.
Paterson says he didn’t look like he’d been hit by a car, nor was he drunk. “He might have been diabetic or something and had an attack, I don’t know.”
Paterson managed to flag down a police van and the cop called an ambulance.
Another man eventually stopped and brought over a blanket and “we just tried to keep him awake till the ambulance arrived”.
“It just blew me away that all these other cars drove past, I couldn’t believe it. I’d believe it in Zimbabwe or a Third World country but not in Queenstown. They should feel ashamed.
“You don’t leave someone in the gutter on the bloody main road. How many other cars would have driven past before someone physically stopped? You couldn’t miss him at all.”
The man was taken to Lakes District Hospital and transferred to Southland Hospital later that day. He was discharged on Tuesday morning.