Witnesses have said it was “a miracle” no one was killed or seriously injured.
At around 8.30am on Tuesday, a silver Suzuki Swift hatchback travelling through Tupapa from the Convenience Store to the outpatients’ clinic, at speeds said to be in excess of 80 kilometres per hour, struck a parked motorbike then hit a second motorbike, knocking over a woman and toddler in the process.
The vehicle then swerved across the road, clipping the back of a ride-on lawnmower being driven along the verge, before continuing on at speed and colliding with a pickup truck. The vehicle eventually came to a halt a short distance from the clinic.
The woman and toddler were both injured in the accident and admitted to hospital but have since been discharged.
“It scared the hell out of me,” said Tupapa resident Dave Reuther, who was driving the ride-on lawnmower.
“I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”
Reuther said the first motorbike was hit so hard it “literally flew” through the air. “It tore the whole back end right off,” he said. “I don’t know how they missed the lady next to it.
“It was headed straight at me,” said Reuther of his own brush with the out-of-control vehicle. “So I drove into the hedge to avoid a collision, because it would have been full-on. At that speed I would have been dead.
“He clipped the back end of my lawnmower and then he kept on going – it (the truck) sped up.
“Then apparently it went around the corner and took out a blue pickup. Hit the pickup so hard it spun it around in the opposite direction.”
A statement released yesterday by the Cook Islands Police Service said the car also “narrowly missed at least two other vehicles driving in the opposite direction”.
“The first of the incidents was reported to the police at 8.47am. The offending driver is known to the police and was arrested early yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon and placed in a cell.”
Police said they were finalising a prosecution case against the car’s driver as of yesterday and that their initial charges would relate to, “dangerous driving causing injury and failing to ascertain (hit and run)”.
“Police are continuing investigations into the cause of the multiple crashes,” the statement said. “Witness information is being provided, as well as medical test results and the history of the driver.”
Police also secured an evidential blood test from the driver following the accident and are awaiting the results.