12 Jan 2018

Police officer's emotional post after seeing fatal crash scene

11:56 am on 12 January 2018

A Waikato police officer who is struggling to sleep after he was one of the first on the scene of a fatal accident has shared his story on social media.

A police officer at a alcohol check point.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Jocelyn Irene Williams, 38, died after a crash in Matamata on Sunday.

Her husband and two children were also injured.

One of the attending officers has taken to the Waikato Police Facebook page, saying he can't sleep after the harrowing experience.

"Morning all. Its 3am and I am not sleeping."

He said he had been in the police for nearly 20 years and had seen lots of accidents - and a fair few fatalities.

"Perhaps not hundreds, but at times it sure feels like it."

The constable said Sunday's crash started off like many others.

"I don't do tears and I don't do emotion. I switch off and go into professional mode.

He said Ms William's body was still in the car upside down in the ditch, while her husband and two children were in ambulances.

Her father - who had been travelling in the car ahead and heard the crash happen - then spoke to the constable.

"In my unemotional unattached professional manner, I got all the kids and victims details. He then asked... 'My daughter is dead isn't she?' Oh hell, how do I react to that? He was teary, and so was I. I don't do tears and I don't do emotion ... up until that point. I think I mumbled 'Yes she is'."

He said to be confronted by a father who had lost a child, a husband who had lost his wife and two children who had lost a mother "just brought the tragedy home".

The constable said he was not sure what he was trying to do by sharing, but said: "The emergency services have to deal with this sort of thing regularly. Each of us are affected and deal with what we see in our own way".

Senior Sergeant Pete Van De Wetering said the post highlighted "why we need people to take our message seriously".

"Prior to the summer holiday period Waikato Police appealed to everybody to be careful on the roads as they went about travelling through our busy district.

"When things go wrong, the below excerpt from one our team, highlights why we need people to take our message seriously."