Fatal accidents, breakdowns and huge traffic backlogs have
plagued the first four days of the official Christmas road
The holiday road toll tonight remains at three, with two men
and an elderly woman killed on the nation's roads.
A toddler and a teenager have also lost their lives in
vehicle accidents over the Christmas break.
Holiday traffic has been severely disrupted on the country's
main highway north of Auckland and on the Kapiti Coast
tonight, with accidents and breakdowns causing huge delays.
A broken-down truck at Pukerua Bay north of Wellington caused
major hold ups on State Highway 1.
Police warn that cars heading south have backed up as far as
Otaki, because there is no hard shoulder or other area that
the truck can be towed to.
A large tow truck has been called in.
Meanwhile, police and emergency services have attended a
serious motor vehicle accident on State Highway 1, Wayby
Valley, just south of Wellsford this afternoon, which has
also caused long delays in that area.
Five people, including three children, were injured in the
Police and Transit staff have worked to put diversions in
place, but significant delays were expected with holiday
Yesterday a 58-year-old Taumarunui man was killed in a
single-vehicle crash near Taumarunui, shortly after 1pm.
The accident happened five kilometres north of the town on
State Highway 4. No-one else was in the vehicle at the time.
A young man was killed after another serious car crash in
The accident happened 200 metres east of the Lorneville-Dacre
highway, north of Invercargill, about 6.30am.
Twenty-four-year-old Shane Curtis Tosh was found dead at the
scene. He was the sole occupant of a Honda saloon.
Also yesterday, a newborn baby was taken to hospital after
the car they were in crashed head-on into another vehicle as
it turned a corner in Waikato.
The baby and its parents were travelling south on Kawhia Rd
at Tihiroa, west of Te Awamutu, when the cars collided on a
sharp bend about 4.15pm.
Firefighters had to winch the couple's car off a road barrier
and wedge the passenger door open to free her.
And Chinese national Rongmei Wang died at the scene of a
two-car crash in Hamilton on Christmas Day.
The 71-year-old 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 later tracked down a 26-year-old suspended driver who
allegedly fled the crash scene after a member of the public
followed her from the accident site.
Meanwhile, a three-year-old toddler was killed at Hatepe near
Taupo about 9pm on Christmas Eve when he was run over in a
shared driveway. Te Haeata Pitiroi was to be farewelled by
grieving family today.
And 16-year-old Rowan Cai Parker was killed about 6.30pm
yesterday when he lost control of the quad bike he was riding
in the Chaslands area of South Otago and drove over a cliff -
falling 150 meters on to rocks to his death.
Neither Rowan's nor the toddler's deaths count towards the
official holiday road toll as the crashes did not happen on
The official holiday road toll began at 4pm on Christmas Eve
and will finish at 6am on January 3.
Last year 19 people died and 381 were injured in crashes
during the official Christmas holiday period.
* Slow down in communities, on rural roads, and drive to the
* Don't drive after consuming any amount of alcohol or taking
drugs, and be careful about driving the morning after
drinking by planning ahead.
* Always wear a seatbelt, make sure everyone else in the
vehicle is wearing a seatbelt and that children are in
correctly-fitted child restraints. Also make sure you have
done vehicle checks such as checking lights, tyres, mirrors
and windscreen wipers before setting off.
* Have your phone switched off or on silent and out of reach.
Minimise other distractions.
* Take breaks every two hours on long journeys. Don't drive
if you are tired, ill or stressed.