A small truck came to rest down a 4m embankment after swerving to avoid cattle along Masterton-Castlepoint Rd. PHOTO/EMMA RBOWN

Witness surprised at lack of signs warning about cattle on road

EMMA BROWN
emma.brown@age.co.nz

A truck crashed four metres down an embankment on Masterton-Castlepoint Rd on Tuesday morning after swerving to avoid cattle on the road.

The accident happened just before 10am, 7km east of Masterton.

The truck had been travelling back towards Masterton when it came around a blind corner at the bottom of Bennetts Hill and encountered the cattle.

The driver of the truck, who was accompanied by a passenger, swerved into the right-hand lane to avoid the cattle, and the truck continued down an embankment, through a fence and a gate before coming to a stop on its side.

Farmers who were working in a paddock close by raced over with their tractor to help, and emergency services were on the scene quickly.

Cars were backed up heading out of town behind the cattle and people scampered down the side and helped the driver climb up and out of the passenger door.

One witness said all she could see when it happened was “a cloud of smoke”.

The driver who was driving a 1geo small truck was assessed by ambulance staff and had a visible bump to his head.

1Geo civil engineering company manager Steve McManus said that neither the driver nor the passenger was seriously injured.

Masterton Police Senior Sergeant Clint Rodgers said that the truck managed to swerve around and miss the entire herd.

While there were no cones on the road, there was a farmer further up the road warning traffic about the beasts presence.

“The [driver] couldn’t have seen anything [as he came around the corner],” a witness said.

She found it strange that there were no warning signs about the cattle.

As a frequent driver on Masterton-Castlepoint Rd, she said there were normally warning signs if herds were moving.

“It could have been a catastrophe”, if it was a larger truck that had come around the corner like the two that came past only minutes later, she said.

Masterton does not have a stock movement bylaw however NZTA Land Transport [Road User] Rule 2004 states under “Moving untethered animals on roads – If you are moving untethered animals on the road, you must also take care to avoid harming other road users”.

It also provides a guiding document which calls for the use of signage and lights, alerting drivers to stock movements.

Rogers said the crash investigation was continuing.