Sports car written off

AFTERMATH: The power pole on Arundel Rakaia Gorge was severed.
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High performance sports cars were believed to be racing each other near Mt Somers on Thursday last week, before one crashed at high speed and severed a power pole.

A firefighter who responded to the scene and wanted to remain anonymous said he believed the car which crashed was a ‘‘top-of-theline sports model’’ Toyota, thought to be worth about $90,000.

The car had rolled three or four times after severing the pole. The driver and his male passenger were out of the written-off car as the firefighters arrived, while their friends in about four other cars including a Mercedes, Audi and Lotus were at the scene.

‘‘They were all perched up there for a wee while, they all disappeared once they knew they (the driver and his passenger) were alright,’’ the firefighter said.

‘‘The driver was more upset about his car I think, he was good as gold, just more in shock.’’

The passenger had reported having seatbelt bruising and a couple of nicks on his head.

Hato Hone St John transported one in a minor condition and one in a moderate condition to Ashburton Hospital.

By the time firefighters arrived, police were already at the scene of the crash, on Arundel Rakaia Gorge Rd about 10.40am.

It is understood police were alerted to the speeding cars before the crash, with many people having heard and seen at least two groups speeding and overtaking as they headed south. They were thought to be from the Christchurch area and aged around 30.

Mt Somers lifestyle block owner Don Stanton said the sound of the cars’ engines as they raced each other was loud, he could hear it about 300m away as he worked away at the back of his property. Stanton hoped police would lay dangerous driving charges against the driver in the crash, which happened about 2km from his home.

‘‘I was absolutely horrified at the speed these vehicles were racing down here. and it was no surprise that one hit a pole.’’

He estimated their speed was more than 150kmh.

Police said no charges had yet been laid. Further information was not available as it would form part of ongoing inquiries into the circumstances.

EA Networks spokesperson Jeremy Adamson said the struck pole had to be replaced. Power was taken out to about 1400 connections as far away as the Rakaia Gorge.

‘‘This was a significant undertaking because of the size of the pole required. Repairs by EA Networks were completed and the network restored to normal by the evening.’’