Holiday road toll rises to three

A fatal crash in Taumarunui today has taken the holiday road toll to three.

A 58-year-old man was killed in a single-vehicle crash shortly after 1pm.

The accident occurred five kilometres north of Taumarunui on State Highway 4. No one else was in the vehicle at the time.

The man was from Taumarunui.

Three people have now died on the roads since the official holiday road toll began at 4pm on Christmas Eve. It finishes at 6am on January 3.

Last year 19 people died and 381 were injured in crashes during the official Christmas holiday period.

A young man was killed following a serious car crash in Southland early this morning.

The crash happened 200 metres east of the Lorneville-Dacre highway, north of Invercargill, about 6.30am.

Senior Sergeant Dave Raynes said a 24-year-old man was found dead at the scene. He was the sole occupant of a Honda saloon.

Police closed part of the highway while a scene examination took place. It was unclear what had caused the accident.

No other vehicles were believed to be involved and the man's name was yet to be released.

Meanwhile, a 71-year-old woman became the first holiday period fatality after dying at the scene of a two-car crash in Hamilton on Christmas Day.

The elderly woman was a rear passenger in a car that collided with a ute at the intersection of Te Rapa Rd and Avalon Dr about 12.35pm.

Four of her family members were taken to Waikato Hospital, police Sergeant Phil Ruddell said.

Police later located a suspended driver who allegedly fled the crash site after a member of the public followed the fleeing car and helped police track its 26-year-old female driver to a Pukete address.

Both the woman and the driver of the other car would be interviewed after receiving medical treatment.

Mr Lynam said it was too early to determine fault or whether charges would be laid over the crash.

Heavy lifting cranes were brought in today after a car collided with a milk tanker near Marton.

The accident happened about 3am, blocking State Highway 3.

The collision sent the tanker into a ditch. The car's driver suffered serious leg injuries and had to be cut out by fire crews.

Motorists in the lower North Island were being urged to be patient today following reports of heavy traffic on State Highway 1.

Police Shift Commander Sergeant Andy Dow said the congestion appeared to be linked to Boxing Day events and nice weather.

Sergeant Dow urged motorists to drive to the conditions and be patient.

A three-year-old toddler was killed at Hatepe near Taupo about 9pm on Christmas Eve when he was runover in a driveway. However the death does not count towards the official holiday road toll as the accident did not happen on a public road.

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