Family devastated by fatal Havelock North crash

The death of a young man, who grew up loving football and fishing, has left his family devastated after his car crashed near Havelock North.

James Mackie, 19, was killed when the car he was driving crashed into a power pole on Te Mata-Mangateretere Rd about 4.20am on Sunday.

His father, Fergus Mackie, said the family was devastated, especially his mother, Louise, and sisters Nicola and Toni.

He said James was having fun with friends on Saturday night and had organised to sleep at a mate's flat in Napier, but later decided to drive home to Havelock North.

"He was heading home and he was almost home," Mr Mackie said.

"It's devastating. It's a really hard time right now.

"He was interested in soccer and fishing while at school and later on he started to enjoy cars."

He said his son, an old boy of Havelock North High School, had about six weeks ago secured a full time position at Orora Kiwi Packaging in Hastings.

"He just got on to the full-time staff a few weeks ago and he was absolutely loving his job.

"He wasn't sure what he wanted to do after high school ... He was a natural at computers and excelled in science and maths but he didn't want to go off to university if he didn't know what he wanted to do. He was really happy living here." "He loved cars, rock music, hanging out with his mates and his little sister," younger sibling Nicola said.

Road Policing Sergeant Kevin Stewart said on Sunday James' car had gone airborne after hitting a culvert, before slamming side on into a power pole.

He said yesterday the crash investigation would take several weeks to complete and each case was "extremely serious and important, especially where a life has been lost".

"The families concerned want and need answers, and rightly so.

"It is to them we owe our very best efforts to give them the answers they seek.

"This is a tragedy. A young man has lost his life, a family has lost a son and brother.

"The impact of these fatal crashes has an ever-widening effect on many people, including emergency services who attend these incidents all too often." James' funeral will be held later this week.

In March, the Hastings District Council changed speed limits on 31 roads, including Te Mata-Mangateretere Rd, and introduced a new Safe Speed Area that covers about 58km of the Hastings roading network in the Heretaunga Plains area.

The area represents about 3 per cent of the district's total roading network but was the scene of 32 per cent of the fatal crashes in the past five years.

- By Sam Hurley of Hawke's Bay Today

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