Emergency, Health, Transport

Horror crashes claim three lives, injures more

police

A third month of horror crashes on a notorious stretch of Marlborough road has turned deadly.

The string of serious accidents on SH1 since May has seen three people killed and many others seriously injured.

But while the road is included as part of a wider safety review, road bosses have put the deaths down to chance.

Seddon man Damian Pollock died on 2 July after a ute left the road between Blind River Loop Road and Tetley Brook Road.

Damian Pollock was killed when his ute left the road at the beginning of July.

His devastated aunt, Theresa Pollock, says people need answers.“If it was driver’s error, we still need answers after hearing so many bad things about the road between Blenheim and Ward.

“If awareness is put out there maybe it could save a life.”

Damian, who just started a new job as a fisheries worker, was the first person to be killed on the road this month.

On Friday, a head-on collision between a ute and an SUV just south of Redwood Pass Road killed one person and seriously injured another.

One person escaped with moderate injuries.

Meanwhile, about ten minutes prior to the fatal accident, a vehicle left the road in the Weld Pass.

An accident on 21 May injured several.

A Waka Kotahi (New Zealand Transport Agency) spokeswoman says safety improvements have recently been proposed for the Weld Pass area and referred to a community engagement report from 2018.

“Clusters of road deaths do occur from time to time but unless they are on the exact same spot they tend to be just part of the range of statistics over time,” the spokeswoman says.

She says if the accidents were in the same place, NZTA staff would be looking at the condition of the highway surface and “anything else” which could be contributing, such as ice patches.

The 22km stretch of highway has had at least six serious accidents requiring emergency services since May.

Timeline

21 May – Young mother Jamie Miller, three children, and one other were rushed to hospital following a crash at the corner of Roadhouse Drive and State Highway 1. Jamie was flown to Nelson Hospital with serious injuries.

12 June – A freight truck and trailer left the road on a sweeping bend near the Blenheim side of Redwood Pass Road. The driver escaped with moderate injuries.

2 July – A ute left the road between Blind River Loop Road and Tetley Brook Road killing the driver, Damian Pollock.

12 July – A car rolled near Riverlands at about 6.20pm, killing the driver, who is yet to be named.

17 July – A head-on collision between a ute and an SUV just south of Redwood Pass Road killed one person and seriously injured another. One person escaped with moderate injuries.

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