Police say information from one of the crash victims led to
the incorrect identification. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery
Dunedin police say a ''difficult and confusing'' accident
scene was behind a mistake that resulted in a family being
wrongly told their daughter had died in Sunday's fatal motorway
But a close friend of the family that lost two children in
the crash says the family is ''devastated'' after being
originally told one had died - then discovering they had lost
''I don't think any amount of apologies will fix that.''
Danielle Ngametua Kiriau (17) and Shannon James Kiriau (22),
of Mosgiel, died when the Honda Integra car in which they
were passengers went out of control and crashed on Sunday
The 20-year-old male driver of the car yesterday remained in
a stable condition in the high dependency unit in Dunedin
Hospital, and a 16-year-old female passenger was discharged
from Dunedin Hospital.
Courtney Donald (17) was in a serious condition in the
intensive care unit.
The family of Ms Donald was originally told she had died in
the crash, while the family of Danielle and Shannon were told
only Shannon had died.
The friend, who asked that her name not be used, said
Danielle and Shannon's mother Beverley De Blecourt was ''not
very happy at all'' about the mistake.
''Everyone is devastated.''
Dunedin Clutha Waitaki Acting Area Commander Inspector Jason
Guthrie said the crash scene was difficult and confusing with
''Information received from other victims of the crash
incorrectly identified one of the females being treated
(Courtney Donald) as the young woman who had in fact
tragically died at the scene (Danielle Kiriau).
''Unfortunately this information was passed on to the parents
of both Danielle Kiriau and Courtney Donald.''
Insp Guthrie said that was based on information received, and
''a range of other circumstances at the scene which led
police to believe that the victims had been correctly
He said police staff who attended the scene undertook a range
of inquires to cross-reference information from witnesses
with evidence located at the scene in order to have
confidence that the identifications were accurate.
''As soon as the mistake was realised, police took immediate
steps to correct it.''
Insp Guthrie said police staff involved were ''very upset
about the fact that this has occurred''.
''We have apologised unreservedly to the parents and family
for this mistake, and appreciate how traumatic it would have
been for them to receive this incorrect information.