The scene on Saturday of the triple fatality near Rakaia.
Photo by Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
A close-knit Christchurch community is reeling after a
mother and two young girls were killed in a car crash, as the
country's top road cop says every death is a failure by police.
The Queen's Birthday Weekend road toll stood at five last
night following the deadly crash at Rakaia, which killed
Sumner woman Sally Summerfield (49), her daughter Ella (12)
and Ella's friend Abigail Hone (12).
Mrs Summerfield's husband Shane, who was driving, was
seriously injured and remains in hospital in Christchurch.
A Dutch tourist has been charged over the crash at an
intersection on Saturday.
The Summerfield family, who are well known in the seaside
suburb of Sumner, were taking Abigail with them to the Ohau
ski area for the long weekend.
They were spending the weekend with two other Sumner
The Summerfields' teenage son, Sam, stayed at home with his
grandfather, Murray Summerfield, to study for exams.
It is unknown whether Mr Summerfield, a dentist, is aware of
his wife's and daughter's deaths as he struggles to regain
He was due to undergo heart surgery to fix a tear in his
He was ''pretty bloody battered'' but had escaped brain or
spinal injuries, close friend Wyn Mossman, a co-director with
Mr Summerfield of Ferrymead Dental Clinic, said.
The Summerfields were a ''gorgeous'' family, Mr Mossman said.
''It's an enormous loss for the community.''
The couple had met in Mrs Summerfield's native England, where
her husband worked for 10 years before returning to New
Zealand in 2004 with his family.
A 52-year-old Dutch tourist has been charged with three
counts of careless driving causing death, and one count of
careless driving causing injury. He allegedly drove through a
He will appear in Christchurch District Court tomorrow.
Their deaths brought the holiday road toll to five, a figure
police Assistant Commissioner of road policing Dave Cliff
said was not only ''hugely disappointing'' but a failure on
the part of police.
''We have got staff out all over the country who are
determined to keep the levels of road damage to a minimum ...
so every time we get a death it's a failure,'' he said.
''The whole intent of what we're doing is trying to stop
human misery and, unfortunately, we've failed in respect of
those five deaths.''
The holiday road period runs until 6am tomorrow, and Mr Cliff
called on motorists to ''drive as if their lives depend on
it, because they do''.
In other fatal crashes at the weekend, 36-year-old Eketahuna
man Adrian James Ihaka died when his car crashed into a power
Auckland woman Robyn Eilleen Derrick, died after tourists in
a camper van allegedly crossed the centre line near Whitianga
on Friday evening.
Last year, there were no road deaths during Queen's Birthday
• A woman whose vehicle was hit head-on by
another travelling the wrong way on Auckland's southern
motorway on Friday morning has died.
Karen Yin Yong (49), of Mount Wellington, died at Auckland
Hospital surrounded by family after her life support was
By Patrice Dougan, of APNZ.