The car crashed into a bedroom vacated just hours before.
Photo / Greymouth Star
A West Coast family have been left devastated after
losing the last of four sons at the weekend, with all of the
young men being killed in tragic circumstances.
Judd Hall, 26, was settling in for a quiet Friday night at
home when mates swung by his Runanga house and persuaded him
to go to a party.
Shortly afterwards, he was killed when the car he was
travelling in was involved in a brief police pursuit before
it smashed at speed into a Greymouth home.
Mr Hall, a back seat passenger, died.
The driver was impaled in the abdomen by a piece of wood,
while the other passenger suffered internal injuries. They
are both in hospital in a stable condition.
Police say the car was travelling up to 140km/h in a 50km/h
It had been travelling so fast when it left the road, that it
caused the front of the house to implode and the roof to
"The sound of the crash was like a bomb going off - half the
town heard it," one local said today.
Alcohol may have been a factor in the crash, police say.
Now, parents Joe Hall and Rick 'Rowdy' Durbridge are
struggling to come to terms with the fourth such tragedy to
strike their male children.
Step-son Dan Herk, 36, was killed in the Pike River coal
mining disaster of November 2010. Joe Hall had raised him
from about the age of 14, family told APNZ today.
In 1990, the couple's 7-year-old son Jessop died in a car
crash caused by a drunk female driver in Motueka on Mother's
Day, and Brett, 19, died a few years later in a fall in
Mr Durbridge and Joe Hall, who have two surviving daughters,
are now mourning the death of a fourth son.
"Judd was the biggest character ever, with the biggest heart.
He'll be so missed - he already is," said one family member,
who did not wish to be named.
Judd Hall's many mates remembered a larger-than-life
character and a "Runanga legend".
Joe Hall said Judd - who was completing a diploma in
information technology - was in his pyjamas when his friends
turned up outside the house and persuaded him to come out.
"There's been comments about him being out partying but that
is not the case at all," she said.
"He was ready for bed and had just gone down the shop for
some Powerade and Skittles when his mates turned up at
10.45pm and invited him to a party in Kumara. It was just bad
luck that he went."
Joe Hall said she had "serious concerns" about the police
"When the police told me about the crash they didn't even
mention a pursuit. They said there was crash after they had
been racing and then I read in the paper about a pursuit
which, like always, they say was called off before the
West Coast police area commander John Canning said it was a
10-second pursuit. The patrol car did not have its siren on,
but its lights were flashing.
"It's not rocket science," he said.
"It's a tragic case where one man is dead simply because they
thought better, and weren't prepared to stop, and made a very
A post-mortem examination was carried out in Christchurch
An examination of the crash scene was completed on Saturday
and investigators are continuing to interview witnesses and
people in the area.