Smashing entrance to Queenstown bank

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A rental car mounted the footpath and crashed through a window at a central Queenstown bank yesterday.

No-one was injured in the incident, which happened just after 3pm.

The car came to rest in ANZ branch manager Chris Grocott’s office.

A 67-year-old man from the Netherlands will appear in court next week charged with dangerous driving.

Grocott told the Otago Daily Times he was sitting in his office, which is next to Ballarat Street, opening an account for a couple of customers.

”For a split second I heard the screech of tyres, then a massive explosion.

”When the noise stopped I had a car in my office and glass all over my customers and strewn right through the branch.”

Grocott said there were about 10 customers in the branch at the time, as well as staff.

After ensuring they were OK, he contacted police.

No-one was injured, although one of the customers in Grocott’s office was quite shaken.

“My office is absolutely munted and there was significant damage to the branch.

“The car took out a floor-to-ceiling glass window and our mural wall is badly out of shape.”

The scene instantly became Queenstown’s newest tourist attraction, with visitors and residents eager to document the aftermath on cellphones and other cameras.

District Command Centre deployment co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Brian Benn, of Dunedin, says the man scraped his vehicle on the Ballarat St bridge just before the crash.

He stopped to look at the damage caused, “a bit rattled by this stage”, got back into the car, and put it into drive when he meant to put it in reverse.

He looked over his shoulder, expected to go backwards, hit the accelerator, and drove forwards into the window.

“It’s very lucky no-one inside was injured.”

Benn says the man will appear in the Queenstown District Court on Monday, charged with dangerous driving.

The man was helped by the public until Queenstown police, St John and the Queenstown Volunteer Fire Brigade arrived.

The ANZ branch was closed yesterday afternoon while repairs were carried out but was set to reopen this morning.

Otago Daily Times