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Mother’s driving warning

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

Five seconds is all it took for a young family’s labour weekend to take a turn for the worse.

Mother-of-two Nicole Armitage was returning from visiting a friend at Ocean Beach on Sunday afternoon when she became momentarily distracted and veered off the road, crashing into a tree.

Her two kids were in the car.

The former Featherston resident said she was travelling at about 80kmh along Western Lake Rd in South Wairarapa when she glanced up at the new Wairarapa Moana signage.

“My tyre went off on the left side on the verge and I felt that and so I over-corrected – that’s what took me right off the road smack into a tree,” she said.

“Just before the impact the kids were screaming – and just after they were panicking.”

She said the car folded with the impact, the airbags engaged, and the seatbelts “did their job”.

“God forbid I had taken out a car in the opposite direction, or someone was cycling, or if my kids didn’t come out of this alive, I would never have lived with myself,” she said.

Emergency services were called to the crash scene and Ms Armitage was separated from her son, 6, and daughter, 14, as they were taken by ambulance to Wairarapa Hospital.

Ms Armitage sustained the worst injuries of the three and was taken by a separate ambulance.

She was still being monitored yesterday at hospital with chest and abdominal pains from the crash.

“I am so lucky,” she said.

“So much more could have gone wrong.”

She said she wished she hadn’t looked up for those split seconds and wanted other drivers to be aware of how dangerous small distractions could be.

“It’s dangerous getting behind the wheel,” she said.

“Your attention has just got to be 100 per cent on the driving because it was literally split seconds.

“The whole thing was under five seconds –  that’s seriously how quick it takes.”

Ms Armitage said she was grateful to the people passing by who stopped to keep watch before fire crews and ambulances arrived.

“I remember two firemen were there,” she said.

“They held my hand and kept it warm cause I was shaking. They were incredible.”

Her daughter was discharged yesterday and her son was not admitted to hospital, but checked over by a doctor instead.

“He came out the best – he was of course in the back.”

A Featherston fire crew intending to respond to the crash was instead diverted to a house fire in Wallace St, Featherston.

A Greytown crew took command of the crash which was on the same road two young men were killed on in July 2014 when their car collided with a tree.

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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