Hit-and-run 'sent shivers up spine' – witness
Mon, 17 Sep 2012 4:34p.m.
By 3 News online staff
A witness from the scene of a fatal hit-and-run in Christchurch on Saturday night says the crash sent shivers up his spine.
The man, who chose only to be identified as Adam, says he didn’t see the man standing at the side of the road get hit by the car – but he heard the impact.
“I heard a car drop a gear […] pick up speed, and then I heard a big bang,” he says.
Adam says he was among the first to reach the man.
“He slid about seven odd metres, eight metres, and then I shook him because I wasn’t sure if he was alive or dead. I shook him and said, ‘Are you alright?’
“There was no movement at all and then I just searched for a pulse and there was nothing.”
He says his concern for the man quickly turned to shock.
“I kind of just freaked out and froze and then I let go,” he says, “I wasn’t all there, I was shaky.”
A 17-year-old girl who was also at the scene says it was clear the man wouldn’t survive.
“When I saw how his body was I knew he was gone, I didn’t know what to do, my legs went to jelly,” she says.
“Everyone was just trying to calm [the victim’s] twin brother down who was really upset.”
Police say two cars – a Suzuki Swift and an older-model red Toyota – were travelling in the same direction on Shands Rd in Hornby when the man was hit around 11pm.
Another person was also hit and hospitalised.
The drivers of both cars have since made themselves known to police after a public appeal for information.
One of them, 18-year-old Burnham welder Harry Philip Silcock, was charged last night with failure to stop and ascertain injury, Fairfax reports.
Adam says the deceased man had likely been drinking, at what he describes as “one of our local hangout spots” where car enthusiasts gather to “let off steam”. But he says the man was standing at the side of the road, and wasn’t expecting it to be a dangerous place.
“None of us do that stupid sh*t or speed like that – it was unexpected.”
Friends tried to chase the driver
The 17-year-old girl says she stayed with the man until the ambulance arrived, while others jumped in cars and tried to chase the alleged hit-and-run driver.
Adam says they almost caught the Suzuki Swift.
“They caught up to the Swift but then the Swift turned down a shingle road and the cars that chased him were too low to go down a shingle road, so they gave up,” he says.
“Apparently the [passengers were] giving them the fingers and stuff.
“They couldn’t catch the other car because it got a bit of a chance to get away.”
Adam says the driver would have been able to see the people who were gathered near the road.
“He’s being an idiot,” Adam says, “I reckon he was just trying to be a show-off and trying to be all cool […] but he went overboard and ended up hitting two and killing one.”
“He could clearly see down there that there was people around and there was cars around, there was no need for him to drop a gear and come flying past.”
‘There’s anger out there’
He says there is both anger and sadness following the man’s death.
“Mostly sadness. They’re angry that guy didn’t stop – after doing something like that we thought he would have stopped or at least handed himself in a lot earlier.”
He says friends may return to the site to place tributes, but that it’s difficult to return to the scene of the death.
“It was so hard to go back to go pick up my vehicle last night, like it wasn’t easy to deal with that, looking at where he was laying was just like sending shivers down my back.”
‘If we didn’t go out there, it wouldn’t have happened’
Following the death, Adam says some of the car enthusiasts might stop going out to meet up. But he says he believes that they have been forced out onto country roads by authorities who have blocked them from Christchurch’s ‘Four Avenues’.
“If we still had the chance to have the Four Aves then there’d be less of us boys going out to places like that and then less accidents would happen.”
He says if there were more opportunities for people to drive cars in racetrack conditions, there would be less danger on the roads.
“I do clay racing so I keep all my stuff to do with cars and speed all on the track where it’s all safe.
“I reckon we need more chances of having track time – more people would be doing it on the track than going out to events like that.”
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