Father, son die in crashes just weeks apart

A boy killed in a head-on car smash near Pahiatua on Wednesday was the son of a man who died in a car crash about eight weeks ago.

Cheyenne Ihaka, 16, died when two cars collided head-on about 11.35pm about five kilometres south of Pahiatua.

He was an unlicensed driver driving a Ford Falcon. His passenger, aged 17, was injured.

The other car, a Mazda, was driven by Sheree Painter, who was on her own.

Ms Painter is the wife of Eketahuna senior rugby coach Wayne Roache. She was taken by ambulance to Palmerston North Hospital with leg and stomach injuries and was yesterday reported to be "stable".

Police said the Ford crossed the centreline colliding head-on with the Mazda and Mr Ihaka had died at the scene.

His father, Adrian James Ihaka, died in May after leaving a rugby club celebration in Eketahuna and smashed into a power pole. He was a former player for the Eketahuna senior reserves team.

Pahiatua Fire Brigade chief Peter Daymond said yesterday he was with the first fire units to arrive at Wednesday night's crash site. He said the crew was unable to revive Mr Ihaka. They had closed the road and made sure the 17-year-old passenger in Mr Ihaka's wrecked car and Ms Painter "were comfortable" before ambulances arrived and took them to Palmerston North Hospital.

Eketahuna Rugby Club president Dennis Dougherty said he had been in contact with the Eketahuna coach and was supporting him and his wife while she was in hospital. "We [the club] will support him in any way we can ... He is going to contact us as soon as he knows more.

"The medical team are still checking to see what injuries Sheree might have. The last I heard at about 10.30 [Thursday morning] was that she was having trauma CT scans."

A MidCentral District Health Board spokesman confirmed Ms Painter was in a stable condition in the intensive care unit.

The passenger from the Ford was also in a stable condition with leg and neck injuries.

Mr Dougherty said the rugby final between Eketahuna and Gladstone would go ahead tomorrow. "Nothing will change that. We are just hoping Sheree will make a full recovery."

Pahiatua police said a preliminary examination into the crash indicated driver inexperience, alcohol, and the condition of the Ford were factors in the crash.

The Serious Crash Unit was investigating and a coroner's investigation was also under way.

The crash continues a tragic series of road smashes, including Cheyenne's father AJ Ihaka.

Ms Painter's son, Jonathan Painter, will stand trial in October after the car he was driving collided with a Wairarapa commuter train at Wiltons Rd last year, killing Grace Diedrichs, 15.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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