Car 'disintegrates' in drag race crash

Speed is believed to be a factor in the accident that ripped apart this BMW. Photo from APN.
Speed is believed to be a factor in the accident that ripped apart this BMW. Photo from APN.
Two teenage boys are fighting for their lives after a drag race on a rural highway ended horrifically.

The passengers, Noel Eparaima and another understood to have the christian name TeRangi, were taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital with life-threatening injuries after the BMW they were in "catapulted into the air" and crashed on Racecourse Rd, 70km south of Napier, late on Thursday night.

The Herald on Sunday understands the boys - aged 16 and 17 - had earlier left a party with two others, Menassah Fraser, 19, and Hope Pere, 18, in the car.

The crash left a wreck one police officer described as the most "graphic" he had seen in 16 years.

"We know one of them died and was revived," said Hastings police Senior Constable Tim Rowe.

Hawke's Bay Hospital spokeswoman Anna Kirk said one of the pair, understood to be TeRangi, received serious brain injuries and had been transferred to Wellington Hospital on Friday night for further treatment. He remains in a critical condition.

The Hawke's Bay Today reported party-goers had earlier that evening attempted to take the keys from someone wanting to drive the BMW.

Police said they believed the car was racing another vehicle which fled the scene after the crash. Police have not spoken to the driver of that vehicle but have appealed for them to come forward.

Eparaima's mother, Tamara Stewart, said she didn't care about the fleeing driver and was focused on her son.

"I'm just worried about my son, I don't care what anyone else thinks," Stewart said. "My son is fighting for his life, there is nothing to talk about."

Messages of grief and support were posted on Facebook yesterday.

Fraser's twin sister Memphis wrote: "Menassah Fraser you are my other half, there's no me without you, I'm not leaving your side, we going to get through this together however many sleepless nights." She posted an emotional photo of her and Menassah holding hands in the hospital, saying: "Hand in hand sis, I've got you."

A friend who had visited Hope Pere in hospital said she suffered from a fractured spine, a broken collarbone and broken leg.

Rowe said the car hit a drain and a concrete abutment before flying 30-40m in the air, where it "disintegrated" and came to a halt.

"We expected to see three or four fatals. How anyone survived is a miracle, it's pretty horrific," he said.

Police believed the crash was fuelled by speed and alcohol. Not all passengers were wearing their seatbelts.

"Bloods were taken from the driver because it was suspected she had... been drinking. The front-left passenger was wearing a seatbelt and that side got the worst impact, but we don't think they were all restrained."

Chloe Johnson of Herald on Sunday/Additional reporting Hawke's Bay Today

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