Trail of destruction at Te Mawhai
By Cathy Asplin
If you’re driving along Te Mawhai Road and spot a wrecked car on the Newton family’s front lawn, you’d be forgiven for thinking that’s the car that put a hole in the side of their house.
But Mereana Newton is quick to point out it wasn’t her little ‘Betsy’ that did the damage to their house on Sunday night - as well as demolishing the nearby telephone junction cabinet, flattening the fence and ripping up the lawn.
“I wasn’t even home at the time. I was with Mum and Dad in Hamilton, visiting family.”
Her parents Brian and Jacqui were delighted to be spending time with their new grandson - but weren’t quite so delighted to get a call from son Chris on the way home to tell them a car had careered through their property, hitting Mereana’s car, then the house, before reversing back out through the fence and driving away.
“We were just stunned - it looked like a bomb site when we arrived home.”
Car parts, broken glass and battered pot plants were strewn around the lawn, Mereana’s car had been spun around by the force of the out-of-control car and ended up smashed into the fence on the other side of the section, while their lounge had an extra ‘vent’.
Neighbours were none too happy about the ‘gate crasher’ to their district either - when the car crashed through the fence it also took out a phone junction cabinet beside it. This cut phone lines for two days and also pinpointed the time of the crash.
A local talking on the phone was suddenly cut off from his call and had to switch to his mobile. He noticed the time on the mobile was 7.28pm. It was an hour and a half later that Chris Newton arrived home to find the damage to the property. Another half hour after that Te Awamutu Police came across a car broken down on Pokuru Road.
The driver of the badly damaged vehicle had more than twice the legal alcohol limit and had a teenager in the car with her. She was charged for driving with excess breath alcohol and immediately had her licence suspended for 28 days.
While the Police realised there had been a crash, they were unsure at the time exactly where the crash had occurred. It wasn’t until a call came in reporting the damage at Te Mawhai that they felt the two incidents were related.
Despite being shocked by the destruction on their property the Newtons are fairly philosophical about the event.
“It could have been much worse - normally our children would have been in the lounge or our grandchildren would have been visiting us on a Sunday night. If Mereana’s car wasn’t parked there the other car could easily have come straight through our house. When all said and done we can replace the car, fix the fence and repair the house - we’re just thankful that there was no-one home and no-one was hurt.”