Police warn drivers after head-on crashes near Queenstown


Police are warning motorists to drive to conditions and not cross the centreline after a series of nasty crashes at the weekend.

A Queenstown woman, 24, was hospitalised with a broken sternum and broken rib following one of the crashes on Sunday.

The woman was injured in a head-on collision after an American man, 29, allegedly drove on the wrong side of the road while pulling onto State Highway 6 near Goldfields Mining Centre at about 5.20pm.

The American was arrested and charged with dangerous driving causing injury.

At the same time, Cromwell police attended an accident on State Highway 8B, where a Wanaka motorist allegedly caused a head-on collision after crossing the centreline. The 43-year-old motorist was hospitalised for observation. Inquiries are continuing.

And earlier that afternoon, at 4pm, a Queenstown man lost control of his vehicle on State Highway 6 in Kawarau Gorge.

The 34-year-old man spun out and ended up down the bank. Treated for whiplash at Cromwell Medical Centre, he was then charged with dangerous driving.

Sergeant Simon Paget, of Cromwell Police, says: “Of real concern is the fact that all of these crashes involved drivers crossing the centre line into the path of oncoming traffic.

“We are very fortunate in that no one was killed in these collisions.”

At 4.30pm on Sunday, 65-year-old Australian woman from Sydney crashed her car at Frankton-Ladies Mile Highway, hitting a power pole and careering on off-road for about 80 metres.

“These crashes occurred after rain on the back of an extended dry period in the area,” Paget says.

“As a consequence of the rain the roads were very slippery with accumulated road grime.

“Police will be out in force over the coming months as part of the Safer Summer campaign, which is targeting speed 4km above the posted speed limit.

“Reducing your speed on the road makes the road a safer place for everyone.”

“Police urge drivers to take care especially in wet conditions, maintain following distances and please, report bad driving to us.”

Queenstown police also attended a one-vehicle crash at the intersection of Peninsula Road and State Highway 6 at 9am on Sunday. A Peugeot vehicle had spun out. No injuries were reported and police are yet to speak to the driver.

Call 555 or 111 to report bad driving.