Charges likely after fatal crash

A Dutch tourist is likely to be charged after a crash in Canterbury that killed a mother and two young girls.

Sally Vanessa Summerfield, 49, her daughter Ella Yasmin Summerfield, 12, and Ella's friend Abigail Ann Hone, 12, were killed when their car was hit by a vehicle that ran a stop sign at an intersection on Thompson Track near Rakaia.

Ms Summerfield's 48-year-old husband, who was driving, suffered serious injuries.

The driver of the other vehicle, a 52-year-old man from the Netherlands suffered moderate injuries.

Police say they have yet to formally talk to him, but he is likely to face three charges of careless use of a vehicle causing death and one charge of careless use of a vehicle causing injury.

Canterbury Road Policing manager Inspector Al Stewart said the behaviour of the driver was "absolutely unacceptable".

"Given the weather conditions at the time of this crash, and visibility available to the driver there is no reason at all why he shouldn't have seen the vehicle," Mr Stewart said.

Ashburton Senior Sergeant Scott Banfield said all drivers must remain vigilant this long weekend.

"If you are in a rural area or any unfamiliar place, we must have a heightened sense of awareness, look out for stop signs and anything else that could ruin our weekend."

Police say all those involved were from outside the South Canterbury region.

The Queen's Birthday road toll rose to five last night when a man died after hitting a power pole in Eketahuna.

Adrian James Ihaka, 36, of Eketahuna, crashed just 600 metres from a social gathering he was at. He had left after an argument. He was given first aid but died at the scene.

"Initial indications suggest that alcohol and speed are two factors that have caused this tragic and totally preventable crash," said Acting Central District Road Policing Manager Kris Burbery.

The first holiday weekend fatality was probably caused by tourists in a campervan crossing the centre line, police say.

A passenger in a four-wheel-drive died on Friday night after it and a campervan collided on State Highway 25 near Whenuakite on the Coromandel Peninsula.

The 4WD driver was flown to Auckland's Middlemore Hospital with serious injuries, and two tourists in the campervan were treated at Thames Hospital for minor injuries.

Police say initial indications are the southbound campervan crossed the centre line into the 4WD's path.

Last year there were no road deaths during Queen's Birthday weekend. The official period began at 4pm on Friday and ends at 6am on Tuesday


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