7 Dec 2016

Marching team in road rage clash

4:38 pm on 7 December 2016

Members of an Otago marching team have complained to police after a road rage incident turned violent.

Springs Junction, Maruia.

Springs Junction, Maruia Photo: Google Street View

The Balclutha marching team was returning from the South Island Marching Championships in Nelson when a truck driver tailgated their van and car on State Highway 7 on Sunday night.

The highway forms part of the new main inland route after the 14 November earthquake closed SH1 around Kaikōura. Traffic volumes have increased markedly.

Constable Josh Clauson said the truck driver tailgated, tooted and made obscene gestures between Murchison and Springs Junction.

Marching coach Stacey Solomon said there was nowhere on the highway the marchers could have let the truck driver pass. They were travelling about 90km/h.

The truck driver had a female passenger and a shipping container on the trailer.

All of the vehicles stopped by the GAS petrol station at Springs Junction.

"The first two members of the party spoke to the driver... they got in a physical confrontation with the male driver and his female passenger on or near the forecourt," Mr Clauson said.

Some of the fight took place on the ground, he said.

Ms Solomon said the truck driver punched one of the women in the face.

Another was thrown to the ground. A marcher put the truckie's female passenger on the ground after she "came flying", she said.

The fight was "sort of over and done with in seconds".

She screamed at the marchers to get back in the van.

"It was a little bit scary," she said.

The marching team continued to Culverden, where they lodged a police complaint. Paramedics treated two women, in their 20s and 40s, for minor injuries.

Ms Solomon said they showed signs of concussion but were "good as gold now".

Police would examine security footage, but Mr Clauson urged the truck driver and any witnesses to come forward or email him at Joshua.Clauson@police.govt.nz.

Police urge highway patience

Mr Clauson said drivers needed to be patient with the increase in traffic on the highway and to "build extra time into your trip".

On Sunday morning, a woman overtook a truck on SH7 near Hanmer Springs. An oncoming driver took evasive action and was rear-ended by a bus.

The woman continued driving north, but a member of the public followed. Police caught up with her and charged her with dangerous driving.

"It could easily have been a fatal," Mr Clauson said of the crash.

He asked truck drivers not to use their engine brakes while driving through inland towns at night as it kept the locals awake.