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Fatal crash

The “horrendous” fatal crash scene in Carterton on Friday. PHOTOS/ALEYNA MARTINEZ

Reverend dies, male driver charged with dangerous driving causing death
Witness: ‘It basically made a bee-line for that car’

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The Carterton community is “absolutely devastated” after a head-on crash which killed the Rev Jenny Henson early Friday afternoon.

“She was one of the greatest shining lights in the community,” fellow St Mark’s Anglican Church the Rev Andy Eldred told the Times-Age.

Henson was killed when a car, driven on the wrong side of the road at speeds witnesses estimated reached 100kmh, hit her vehicle in central Carterton at 12.25pm.

Wairarapa Police Area Commander Scott Miller said Henson was just “exceptionally unlucky to be in the car, at the wrong place, at the wrong time”.

The crash happened at the intersection of High Street South [State Highway 2] and Pembroke St by New World.

“The offending driver was deliberately on the wrong side of the road travelling through a 50kmh area at excessive speed,” Miller said.

A man in his 40s has been arrested and charged with dangerous driving causing death, and remains in custody.

Miller said the man was being tested for drugs and alcohol as part of their investigation.

Police wanted to thank the public who helped the woman.

It was “quite a horrendous crash scene” and “people assisted as best they could with first aid”.

“This was right in the middle of the town so people came to help in any way they could and certainly the police and emergency services really appreciate the efforts made by everyone that was immediately on the scene,” Miller said.

Witness to the crash, Thomas Beagle told the Times-Age he was driving north towards Masterton in a line of slow-moving traffic near New World when he heard the red Holden Commodore, which he noted was a sports model, accelerating at full power from behind him in the opposite lane.

“My initial split-second thought was that’s a crazy passing move, they’re going to have to brake very hard,” Beagle said.

“But we watched to our horror as they kept on accelerating and drove straight head-on into an either stopped or very slow-moving southbound car.

“Of course, at that point, physics took over.”

Upon impact “the other car spun around, and debris went everywhere”, he said.

Beagle said the Holden Commodore was going “at maximum acceleration the entire way until the crash”.

“It basically made a bee-line for that car.”

Travelling with his partner, they pulled over and called ambulance services.

“By the time I got there, a lot of people had poured out of the shops and cars, some were pulling the guy that caused the crash out of his car and they were helping him out.

“I saw some people talking to [the victim], trying to assure them the ambulance was on the way, but I couldn’t see anything after that because the air bags were puffed up.”

The Serious Crash Unit examined the scene.

Miller said the police would like to hear from anybody who saw the red Holden Commodore driving erratically between Martinborough and Carterton on Friday morning.

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