An overseas student was clipped by a fast-moving, reversing car before it slammed into a poster stand in Rotorua's central city.
The 16-year-old student, Saeko Honma, got the fright of her life as the car came towards her at speed while she was waiting to cross the road to the post office on the corner of Tutanekai and Pukuatua Sts about 2pm.
She was about to post a letter home to family in Tokyo when she was hit by the car which then slammed into a large poster stand on the corner.
A witness, who didn't want to be identified, said the driver of the vehicle reversed out of a park outside The Sushi Gallery on Tutanekai St and continued to reverse, coming to a stop after smashing the poster stand.
Saeko, who is in Rotorua with a group from St Mary's School in Stratford, was shocked but suffered only grazes. The driver of the car was taken to Rotorua Hospital.
"I was scared. I could hear the car coming ... it was so fast. It was just coming at me at speed," Saeko said.
Acting Senior Sergeant Tony Bennett of the Rotorua police said the 83-year-old driver had suffered a medical condition that caused her to fail to take her foot off the accelerator and she lost control of the vehicle. Mr Bennett said she was taken to the hospital "just to get checked over".
Rotorua Girls' High School students Skye Walmsley, 16, and Renee Goodall, 15, saw the crash. Skye said it was scary.
"It was intense. We saw her reversing and heard her car revving. I thought she was going to go forward but she just kept going."
The woman looked terrified, Skye said.
"I could see her eyes. She looked frightened." The pair raced to the scene while calling an ambulance.
They saw Saeko get hit. "She was in shock and crying. It was awful," Renee said. City Guardians and police were on the scene within seconds of the crash.
A Cash Converters staff member, who didn't want to be identified, said the noise as the car hit the poster stand was "horrific".
"It sounded like an explosion ... there was a horrific bang," he said.