The husband of a Westport woman who died in a car crash told her to stop overtaking seconds before she smashed into a van.
In an inquiry held on August 8, Coroner Richard McElrea found Lisa Ann Lyon, 35, was at fault for the accident after she overtook a car on a blind corner.
Lyon was driving husband Derek Lyon and their two sons, aged 4 and 6, on a winding and hilly stretch of road in May 2009.
They were about 10 kilometres south of Charleston when Lyon attempted to overtake three cars on a short stretch of road.
Ahead of her was a curve with no line of sight for oncoming traffic.
Derek Lyon said his wife had already overtaken one car when he told her to pull in behind a campervan, but she ”decided to go for it and carried on with the overtaking”.
The family’s car smashed head-on with a Volkswagen van.
”As Lisa started to overtake the camper van she was about halfway past on a manoeuvre, travelling about 120kmh during the overtaking. That’s when I saw the oncoming vehicle,” he said.
The driver of the van said that in the ”split seconds” before the accident occurred he hit the brakes and tried to avoid Lyon’s car.
”The last recollection I have is looking up and seeing the vehicle as we impacted,” he said.
Another witness described seeing ”a flash of red and the impact.”
Lyon died at the scene after suffering internal injuries. Her husband, sons and the driver of the van suffered serious injuries.
The coroner said Lyon caused the crash.
”The driver of the oncoming vehicle involved in the crash did everything he could do to avoid the collision,” he said.
Senior Constable Simon Burberry described Lyon’s driving manner before the accident as ”impatient”; tooting her horn at a driver and following another car closely.
Burberry made recommendations to the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) that boards be installed on the curve near the crash site, that warning signs be installed that there was a one-lane bridge ahead and that no-passing lines were installed ahead of the curve.
NZTA spokesman Mark Pinner said the no-passing lines had been installed as ”the removal of any ambiguity or indecision to pass could offer some benefit”.
The other recommendations had not been adopted, he said.
– © Fairfax NZ News
@ARF – They are completely blame free. They did not – in any way – contribute to the accident. As Ultra #1 states below, “Do not overtake another car unless you are 100% sure you can make it”.
@ARF, it is that attitude that led to this accident. The woman tried to overtake three cars at once on a corner without sight of oncoming traffic. Stupid risk-taking with disastrous consequences, there is no-one else to blame here.
ultimately it was her fault but What a shame the car holding up the traffic did not pull over. They are not blame free.
How sad. And how extra frightening for the innocent van driver who was confronted with the head on collision. Diffiouclt to see what else could have been done to avoid the situation. I hope the husband and sons can find some peace.
Do not overtake another car unless you are 100% sure you can make it. Zero risk. This should be drummed into every driver at every opportunity.