Driver dies after wrong-way crash

Karen Yin Mei Yong was a keen Ceroc dancer.
Karen Yin Mei Yong was a keen Ceroc dancer.
An innocent motorist who died after a wrong-way motorway crash was a keen dancer who participated overseas.

Karen Yin Mei Yong's family, who rushed from Kuala Lumpur after the crash, were at her hospital bedside when life support was turned off on Saturday night.

The 49-year-old from Mt Wellington was struck head-on by a 31-year-old female driver speeding the wrong way down the Southern Motorway in Auckland about 12.40am on Friday.

Police are still trying to talk to the woman, who is seriously injured in hospital.

The Herald can reveal that up to 20 cars narrowly avoided the driver as she drove for about 5km south in the northbound lane from the Mount Wellington off-ramp, before colliding with Ms Yong in the fast lane near the East Tamaki interchange. She ignored or failed to see "numerous signs advising drivers: 'wrong way, go back'," Senior Constable Karl Bevin said.

Police received a number of calls from motorists and were en route to try to stop the wrong-way driver when the crash happened.

Ms Yong suffered extensive head-to-toe injuries in the smash and died in Auckland Hospital, he said.

"Her next of kin made emergency plans to travel from Kuala Lumpur to be at the victim's bedside prior to life support being turned off. It's a tough pill for the family to swallow and this was a needless loss of life.

"The family are very close-knit, very quietly spoken. They're obviously very upset at the loss of their family member in New Zealand. It's a terrible time in their lives."

Alcohol was believed to be a factor in the crash and police had taken a blood sample from the driver, he said.

"We're waiting for her to recover in hospital ... we're hoping to speak to her soon. She has serious injuries herself."

Ms Yong was part of the east and south Auckland branch of Ceroc dancing.

This year she won first place in the over-45 category of the Auckland Ceroc Championships with dance partner Derek McEwan.

Close friend Peter Felhofert said Ms Yong's mother and sister were finalising funeral arrangements.

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