Fatal crash under investigation
Investigations are continuing into how two cars came to collide on a section of State Highway 3, resulting in the first death on Taranaki roads this year.
Sunday afternoon’s tragedy came after the region recorded its worst road toll in nine years in 2018 with 17 deaths, the highest since 2009. The two-car crash occured about 4.45pm on a bridge over the Ngatoru Stream on SH3 south of Inglewood, between Dudley and Durham roads.
The drivers were the sole occupants of both vehicles and had to be cut free from the wreckage.
The survivor, a 62-year-old female, was taken to Taranaki Base Hospital by St John ambulance with moderate injuries.
Senior Sergeant Robbie O’Keefe, road policing manager, said it appeared a southbound pink Toyota Passo had crossed on to the wrong side of the road and hit a northbound car.
‘‘It has been seen to veer to the left then veer to the right then has crossed the centreline and hit a silver Jaguar.
‘‘We are investigating the
cause of the crash and trying to determine what has caused the car to cross the centreline.’’
The driver who was killed had been travelling in the southbound Toyota.
His name has not yet been released.
Police were appealing for witnesses who saw the crash or either of the vehicles involved before the collision.
O’Keefe described 2018 as an atrocious year on Taranaki roads and said police wanted to avoid a repeat in 2019.
‘‘We all have to be aware of distractions and drive to the speed limit and drive to the conditions. We want a better year than last year. Obviously it was a horrific year for road deaths and a lot of people lost loved ones.’’
Roadsafe Taranaki coordinator Marion Webby said everyone needed to work together to bring the road toll down.
Webby said if all drivers reduced their speed by 5kmh it would make a huge difference to the outcome of crashes.
‘‘The speed you are travelling at when you are involved in an accident dictates how serious the injuries or the outcome of the crash is.’’
She said the organisation was pushing the message everyone makes mistakes and wanted drivers to take responsibility for their actions and decisions.
The female driver remains in a stable condition in Taranaki Base Hospital.
The police Serious Crash Unit is investigating.
It was the second fatal crash in New Zealand on Sunday.
In Christchurch, three teenage boys were killed when a stolen car slammed into a tree and exploded in a ‘‘huge ball of fire’’ shortly after 11pm, not long after police abandoned a chase.
The driver of this car, a 62-year-old woman, survived a two-car crash just south of Inglewood on Sunday.