Witness appeal after woman and dog’s near miss

The damage done to Catherine Geeves' car. Photo. Supplied.

A Tauranga woman is sharing her story as a warning to motorists about getting witness details if involved in traffic incidents.

Catherine Geeves was lucky not to be hurt when the door of her car was crashed into by another motorist.

Catherine was at The Avenues Retirement Village when the incident happened at about 2pm Wednesday.

She was visiting with her dog Dudley as part of her role with Canine Friends Pet Therapy.

Catherine got out of the car to let Dudley out the back when another car collided with the door of her Subaru Legacy.

Both were lucky not to be hit.

“Mercifully it missed me,” says Catherine. “But it whipped the door right back. I got a hell of a fright. I actually thought I would see the door on the road.”

Two young women in separate cars then stopped to check on Catherine. She admits being so shaken, she did not get their details.

While this was all happening, the driver of the alleged offending vehicle quickly emerged.

His vehicle also suffered significant damage with glass strewn across the street.

At that stage, Catherine told the two young women that she was fine and they could leave.

She never believed the man in question would deny he was to blame.

“I just assumed that he would acknowledge liability,” says Catherine.

“After my husband had arrived and I had spoken to my insurance company, they told me to just check I have got his details and get him to acknowledge liability and he just smiled and said ‘why would I do that?’”

Catherine is hopeful the two women who witnessed the incident may come forward to help her with the claim.

She would also like to thank them for checking on her after the “frightening” experience.

The car door will need to be replaced, as well as the front side panel, all at considerable cost.

A police spokesperson suggested that motorists in a similar situation should dial the police non-emergency line 105 and report the incident.

“The lesson really is I should have called the police, I should've got those young women's details,” says Catherine.

“But you kind of make the assumption that someone else will acknowledge what is clearly their fault.”

Catherine is urging the two witnesses, or anyone else who saw the incident to come forward and contact her at

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Insurance Companies

Posted on 06-03-2021 11:31 | By Justin T.

First: Arthur M is 100% correct. Second: Insurance Companies are a business. They exist to make a profit. Pure and simple. They all say never admit liability, even if you are in the wrong, why, because it costs them money. They all say they will look after you in an event, offering no claim bonuses (ha), allowances etc, etc. They have to make you sound like you are all important and caring because thats how they keep customers and the money rolling in. Take off the rose coloured glasses and see what really makes any business tick or exist. PROFIT. Third: Always take photographic evidence; damage, number plate, registration sticker (if not registered or WoFed the are lible straight up because they shouldn’t be on the road. Chances are then they are not covered by insurance and Police should be called immediately). Photograph driver for identity purposes.

happens all the time

Posted on 03-03-2021 08:32 | By hapukafin

It happened again yesterday,a lady came out from the dairy on Levers Rd parcel in left hand walked straight to her car to open it with her right hand,never looked to see if I was driving up behind and just swung her door open.Fortunate for me as I always give these situations a wide berth.Arthur M maybe this is a area license testers need t pay some attention to.

Car Owners Fault

Posted on 02-03-2021 15:20 | By

Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 7.2 Use of doors (1) A person must not cause a hazard to any person by opening or closing a door of a motor vehicle, or by leaving the door of a motor vehicle open. Seems like the other motorist did the right thing to not acknowledge responsibility Catherine. This was your mistake.


Posted on 01-03-2021 13:32 | By

The woman claims Dudley was lucky not to be hit. But if he was in the back, as he should always be, then he was not in danger in this instance. I do hope he was in the back. I see quite a lot of people driving about with a dog on their lap. It is very dangerous. I may be wrong but I am sensing a bit of entitlement here due to the nature of the visit to the village. It doesn’t matter how noble your reason for being there is, always check before opening a car door. I’m pretty sure if you opened it onto a cyclist and killed them it would be you doing the acknowledgment of liability. Anyhow, a lesson to be learnt.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 01-03-2021 13:07 | By

4 everyone. @ hapukafin I’ve heard a technique elsewhere where they always use their opposite(left) hand to open the driver side door. Driver much more likely to look behind than just whammo! with the right hand. I don’t care who’s at fault. At the end of the day it takes two to tango. He can take responsibility for potentially carelessly hitting the door. She can take responsibility for carelessly opening the door. Both responsible for their part.

car owners fault

Posted on 01-03-2021 12:22 | By

she should have looked before opening the door that is what rear vision mirrors are for, it happens a lot in tauranga, streets were they double park, on either side of the road, edgcombe rd, 17th ave, for example it is barley wide enough for 2 cars to pass, but when hospital workers park there it has room for1 car only, i have had near door misses on those streets, it is the car owners responsbility to look first before opening the door, it was her own fault.


Posted on 01-03-2021 10:01 | By Accountable

It’s amazing how quickly people wish to blame others for their own mistakes and it’s also amazing she has a license to drive a motor vehicle when she makes basic mistakes such as the one in the article where she wasn’t moving!

use LH side door

Posted on 01-03-2021 08:39 | By hapukafin

not saying you did anything wrong.Unload from your left side door in future.I come upon this problem along Ngatai Rd regularly,drivers opening their door without checking behind first.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 01-03-2021 08:03 | By

Difficult to say what really happened. But I could easily side with Slim Shady here. If I run on to the street without looking...who is at fault? I’ve actually had a parked car open their door on me while I was on a motorbike. Lucky he didn’t go to step out or I would have folded his leg backwards with the door.


Posted on 01-03-2021 07:17 | By

You should always check before opening your door. There could be other cars passing or cyclists. There is often not enough room to pass a stationary vehicle leaving more than the doors width just in case someone unexpectedly swings the door open. The onus is on the person opening the door to check it is clear.