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Good turn gets trio home

Nate and Ethan Foster on the Cook Strait ferry. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

PAM GRAHAM
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Constable Allan French is calling bystanders who came to the aid of Nelson mum Rachel Francois and her two sons after a crash in Carterton on Monday “heroes”, but he did his bit, driving them over Remutaka Hill to catch a ferry on time.

Francois and her sons, Ethan, six, and Nate, four, were in a Mazda 3 owned by her father travelling south when a 4WD pulled out in front of them.

They had been on holiday in Hawke’s Bay with her brother’s family for four days and after stopping for a snack in Masterton were on High St in Carterton when the crash happened about 10am.

They were travelling on the Monday in the hope of avoiding the worst of the holiday traffic.

The other vehicle damaged in the crash. PHOTO/PAM GRAHAM

“I was just looking ahead down the main street and boom the airbags were on and smoke was starting to come out of the dashboard,” Francois said.

Tom Kirk from Carterton District Council’s parks and reserves team helped get her car out of the way, while Lucy McKenzie and Simone Grayson took her and the children, and their luggage, into 3Mile and looked after them.

“They were absolutely amazing, incredible,” Francois said.

She says Ethan has a loose front tooth and a “pretty distraught mother”, otherwise they were all fine. The women working in 3Mile offered to drive them to the ferry, but French said he would take them.

He contacted the ferry operator to check they could travel as foot passengers and waited with them until their bags were loaded.

They were met in Picton by her parents. Francois said the boys took things in their stride.

“They are the most resilient and incredible wee boys.”

Several people who were in Carterton at the time said they heard a loud bang as the accident happened. French said the car was substantially damaged.

“They were essentially stranded, and we couldn’t have that in the South Wairarapa. So we decided to help out.”

He said the boys were stoked they got a ride in a police car.

Francois said it was the first time she had been in a police car and hopefully the last.

French co-owns Crossfit Manaia in Solway and has long been active in the functional fitness and Crossfit communities when not at work.

He has spoken previously about the community spirit involved in both jobs.

He said the real heroes of the story were Kirk, McKenzie, and Grayson who were first on the scene.

Kirk said the car was blocking the road and holding up traffic so he closed off one lane and helped divert traffic until the police arrived.

He then helped clear her vehicle off the road.

“The car was smoking a bit, so I got her away from it and discharged a fire extinguisher from one of our [council] trucks.

“When the constable was speaking to her she was quite distraught so I gave her a hug.

“She was saying that she was from out of town so I wanted to help her.

“I just want to pass on good wishes and I hope she is well.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Great to hear the boys enjoyed the police chauffeur and they all got home safely!

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