Police have named a family of five killed in a crash in
The driver of the vehicle was 23-year-old Lisa Crowley. Her
partner, Richard Melling, 37 was the front seat passenger.
In the rear of the vehicle were 11-year-old Jordan Melling,
2-year-old Brody Crowley and a 3-week-old boy, who police
believe was yet to be named.
The baby was in a baby capsule.
They were a blended family with Lisa the mother of the
youngest of children and Richard the father of Jordan.
Police said they were seen at their home in Whakamaru by
family and friends at 8pm on Sunday night.
Their vehicle appeared to have been heading towards
Whakamaru, suggesting that they had left the settlement to an
unknown destination and were returning.
Their vehicle was discovered only today by contractors
working at a forest area on State Highway 32 near Whakamaru
It appeared to have left the road and hit a tree. It had
travelled some metres from the road and could not be seen
from the road.
Police said it was not clear at this stage when the crash
happened and police wanted to hear from anyone who knew of
the family's movements between Sunday night and today.
Police also wanted information from anyone who saw their
vehicle, a green Honda Integra, in or around the area since
Taupo Area Commander Inspector Steve Bullock said: "This is
an absolute tragedy; a Christmas in ruins for a number of
families and friends. Our hearts go out to them.
The crash scene was about 30km from where two people were
killed in another smash on State Highway 1 today.
In that crash, at 1.05pm, a car travelling south towards
Taupo hit an oncoming truck head-on.
The occupants of the car, two Indian men who were visiting
New Zealand, died at the scene.
The male truck driver, and a female passenger, both from
Kaitaia, were treated for minor injuries at Tokoroa Hospital.
Assistant Commissioner Road Policing Dave Cliff said the
crashes were a devastating prelude to the Christmas Holiday
period, which begins officially next week.
"Our thoughts are with the families of those who have died in
these terrible and tragic circumstances. This is a
devastating loss and a horrific start to the Christmas
period, especially as we focus on trying to reduce the rising
road toll and make our roads safer,'' Mr Cliff said.
"While we don't yet know all the circumstances leading up to
these crashes, it's a sobering reminder that we all need to
do our part in staying safe on the roads.
South Waikato Mayor Neil Sinclair said such a loss of life
was a total tragedy so close to Christmas.
'' ... to lose what sounds like a family and two other people
just before Christmas is shattering. I cannot imagine what it
would be like for their families.''
Mr Sinclair said people needed to take great care on rural
roads, making sure not to rush, to make sure they made it to
their destinations safely.