Weekend road toll hits seven
Sun, 03 Jun 2012 8:54a.m.
By 3 News online staff and Tom McRae
The Queen’s Birthday weekend road toll has now risen to seven, and Superintendent Rob Morgan says alcohol is thought to be a factor in three of the four crashes.
Four people are dead following a car crash this morning near Putorino, Hawke’s Bay.
Emergency services were alerted at 7.30am today by a passing motorist who saw the vehicle over a bank. By the time the police arrived all four occupants were dead.
It is not known exactly when the vehicle crashed and police are calling for any witnesses who may have seen the blue-grey Mitsubishi Pajero wagon last night.
It is believed alcohol was involved in the crash, as the occupants had been drinking at a local hotel last night. Their car crashed into a fence and rolled before landing on its wheels in a paddock.
Three of the four men were thrown from the car. Police say the men were aged 47, 64, 42 and 48, and were local farm hands who worked together.
As hearses carried the bodies of the four local farmhands away, their once sturdy four-wheel-drive was left a wreck, pummelled beyond recognition.
"At least three of them have been thrown from the vehicle which would suggest they weren't wearing a seatbelt, and it would also appear alcohol was involved," says acting senior sergeant Clint Adamson.
Farm gear and fertiliser lay scattered along the Pajero's deadly path, with beer bottles too an upsetting reminder for loved ones arriving on the scene.
“If there's one thing we would like to say, it's a tragedy for the families of those involved but this crash was avoidable," says Mr Adamson.
Mid-paddock, the mangled wreck reduced family members to tears. One told 3 News she didn't realise how much she loved them until they were gone.
"When you're in a rural environment, 100km speed limit, mix that with alcohol and you've got a good chance of dying," says Superintendent Rob Morgan.
Death's no stranger in the area – last night's victims knew four other locals who died in similar circumstances at Mohaka just a few months ago.
“The police can't sort out drink driving by ourselves,” says Mr Morgan. “The community must take ownership otherwise their families will continue to die on our roads."
It is the second fatal accident in Hawke’s Bay roads over the weekend.
Last night a woman pedestrian died after being hit by a car round 5.50pm at the intersection of State Highway Two and Higginson St in Otane.
In Stratford, Taranaki last night a young man in his 20s was also killed in a crash at around 9.20pm.
Witnesses say the car rolled before hitting a pole. They say one person was trapped inside the car and another was trapped under the vehicle, describing the scene as “horrific”.
Two women and a man were also injured and taken to Taranaki Base Hospital.
One of the women is in the high dependency unit and the other two casualties are being treated for moderate injuries.
A male pedestrian was also hit and killed by a car at 2.10am this morning on Birchs Road at Lincoln, near Christchurch.
A reduced speed tolerance of no more than 4km/h has been put in place over the holiday period.
The road toll period will officially end at 6am on Tuesday.
Police had been hoping for another death-free weekend in the light of New Zealand’s zero road toll over the Easter period in April, the first time since 1956.
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4/06/2012 5:48:33 p.m.
Belinda Wharehinga wrote:
He(Bishop Tamaki) and the church are doing some great iniatives in the community-More power to them that's wonderful!!! Which is more then what I can say for our stupid government and MP's!!! Um, hello,spending millions of our taxpayers money on their lavish lifestyles or ripping us off!!!! What have they done for NZ lately??? Go figure!!!
3/06/2012 1:23:52 p.m.
The police would have used either a low or high toll as an excuse to keep cracking down. If it's low, it shows the crackdown is working and should continue. If it's high, it shows the police didn't crack down enough and should crack down even more. Either way, it is a slippery slope with the average road user coming off worst.
3/06/2012 10:39:59 a.m.
We could take the same stance as smoking - increase the cost of driving by such a ridiculous amount that people just stop. Oh wait...
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