Car in fatal crash was unroadworthy

Police took the car keys from a drunk driver only hours before the same car crashed through three fences and overturned in Thames early this morning, killing an 18-year-old man.

The rear-set passenger died and four other occupants suffered minor injuries when the allegedly unroadworthy car came off Pariwai Rd about 4.25am today.

Waikato police district commander Superintendent Win van der Velde said the police serious crash unit was still investigating.

"However, initial indications are the 37-year-old female driver of the Holden Commodore lost control of the vehicle and left the road, crashing through three fences."

The crash was particularly concerning because it came less than three hours after police had stopped the same car and caught its driver at the time, a 31-year-old man, over the legal breath alcohol limit.

Mr van der Velde said the car was also found to be unroadworthy when police stopped it about 1.30am.

"It was issued a non-operational order and the keys were taken by police so it should not have been on the road at all, let alone being driven at the time of the crash."

Waikato police and emergency services diverted traffic away from the crash scene this morning and had warned of delays. The residential road has since reopened.

The crash brings the number of deaths on Waikato roads this month to two - double the same period last year. It was the sixth fatal or serious injury crash in the region within a week.

Last night, four people were injured, one critically, in a head-on collision on State Highway 24, south of Matamata.

Police said a vehicle lost a rear wheel and crashed into an oncoming car.

One person was critically injured, another person suffered serious injuries and two others were moderately injured.

"Each of this week's crashes has occurred on rural roads and police are becoming concerned that drivers are becoming too complacent," Mr van der Velde said.

"Only this morning I stopped a car doing over 120km/h on a rural road and yesterday one of my constables stopped two eastbound vehicles on SH25A in the Coromandel travelling at speeds of 152 and 148km/h while overtaking."

Mr van der Velde said such speeds at any time, let alone over the holiday period with extremely high traffic flows, were unacceptable.


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