Passenger has to steer after flying ‘object’ kills driver in Wanaka

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The passenger of a driver killed near Wanaka by an object smashing through the windscreen had to try and steer the runaway car, a resident says.

The driver died this morning after it appears an object flew through his car windscreen.

A police statement says initial indications are the man, driving a blue Subaru, suffered fatal injuries when struck by the object at about 6.25am while on State Highway 6’s Lake Hawea-Albert Town Road. 

The female passenger was uninjured.

Rosie Foster, house sitting at a friend’s bed and breakfast right by the crash scene, has told the Otago Daily Times she did not hear the crash, but heard sirens early this morning. 

Foster had spoken to a police officer who told her the passenger had to grab the steering wheel.

“He said that something had flown out the back of a car and hit the windscreen of another car, and gone straight though and killed the driver.

“The passenger managed to grab hold of the steering wheel and steer it. I’m not sure if they had a massive crash after that.”

Foster says police did not yet know what the object was.

“They can’t find it anywhere, so they were still looking, about an hour ago, in the grass along the sides of the road,” she says.

“They said it could be anything from something that’s flown off the back of a trailer or even if they’ve thrown something out the window.”

Foster says police were also investigating marks on the road where it looked as though a vehicle had turned around and gone back up the road.

However, she adds police were unsure if the marks were caused by the vehicle which the object came from, or whether they were caused by emergency vehicles on the scene.

Police are keen to hear from anyone who might have seen a while 4X4 ute heading out of Wanaka on the north side of the Maungawera Hill towards Hawea around 6.15am to 6.45am today.

“The ute may have been in the vicinity at the time the incident occurred and police would like to talk with the driver,” detective sergeant Brian Cameron says.

Anyone with information should contact Wanaka Police on 03 443 7272 or their nearest police station.

Police won’t be releasing further details about the man who died in the crash until his family have been notified.