Every time Ōhaupō resident Sue Davies drives to and from Hamilton for work, she’s reminded of the car crash she was involved in on the corner of SH3 and Raynes Road in Rukuhia.
On Wednesday last week, as she drove through the intersection with its yellow markings and signs of the crash still on the road, she gulped and said to herself: “that could have quite easily been me”.
Gay Kettle, 70, of Rukuhia, died in the collision following a three-vehicle 5.30pm crash there on August 10.
Davies is heartbroken for the Kettle family and is calling on authorities to do something about the intersection.
It was about 4.45pm on March 9 last year when Davies was returning home from her administration job in Hamilton.
Traffic was relatively heavy on Ōhaupō Road/SH3 and road conditions were slippery as she approached the intersection travelling about 80km/h.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw a white Hilux 4 x 4 coming out of Raynes Road but it was too late for her to do anything other than brake as her blue Toyota Vitz RS ran into the side of the Hilux.
Her car was a write off and Davies would have been to if she had been travelling any faster. She broke her collar bone and right hand and continues to have ongoing physiotherapy treatment.
While she was lying in the ambulance waiting to be taken to Waikato Hospital, a resident told Davies’ husband that he was continually fixing his fence because there were so many accidents at the site.
The man in the white Hilux pleaded guilty of careless driving causing injury, was granted a discharge without conviction, and ordered to pay Davies damages. He told Davies in a restorative justice conference that he had simply not seen her as he looked north to get across the busy intersection.
Davies has no bitterness towards him; he suffered as much if not more than her, she said.
Last week’s crash was the first fatality at the intersection, but figures released to the News by Waka Kotahi show 14 of 26 crashes there since 2011 have happened in the last four years.
There have been five crashes resulting in serious injuries since 2013 and 13 non-injury crashes.
Davies said as the industrial sections around Hamilton Airport fill up with workers, the intersection is going to become even busier.
Then in a few years Peacockes Road, which is less than 100m from the Raynes Road intersection, will be the entrance to a massive residential subdivision with more than 20,000 people.
“I know I was lucky; it was not my time to go that day. Fortunately, I wasn’t speeding or even doing the speed limit. I go over that accident every time I go through the intersection and I’m super cautious. I always look towards Raynes Road because I know it’s going to happen again but hopefully not to me.”