Stupid way of honouring crash victims: police

Police are looking for two people after dangerous driving on Waitaki Ave this morning. Photo:...
Police are looking for two people after dangerous driving on Waitaki Ave this morning. Photo: Hamish MacLean
People driving dangerously near a North Otago school was not the way to honour former pupils involved in a fatal crash this week, police say.

Police were called to Waitaki Boys' High School in Oamaru this morning after reports of two cars driving dangerously in Waitaki Ave.

Yesterday, the school was rocked by the news that two former pupils were involved in the single-vehicle crash on Wednesday night that killed two passengers and seriously injured the driver.

Sergeant Tony Woodbridge, of Oamaru, said today that, in light of yesterday's news, dangerous driving and putting pedestrians' lives at risk was "idiotic".

"We see this as very stupid behaviour and not the way to honour people who died."

Police were called by the school and were now looking for two drivers. They had spoken to witnesses and were reviewing video of the incident.

He said police found evidence of vehicles completing "burnouts" or driving manoeuvres involving a sustained loss of traction on Waitaki Aveclose to Milner Park.

"These drivers put pedestrians in the area at risk while using public roads as their own playground.

"Police [are] committed to keeping people safe on our roads and individuals who are responsible for 'burnouts' are clearly not considering the safety of others," he said.

Waitaki Boys' rector Darryl Paterson said the school had been affected "very, very deeply" by the tragedy and some boys had informed the school they would not attend classes today.

He supported police in their inquiries and censured those involved.

"Under the circumstances of the tragedy, of course it's inappropriate," he said.

Mr Paterson confirmed about 200 high school-aged pupils performed a waiata and haka at the school's Milner Park about 10am to honour those affected.

It was not a school event but the school was contacted by others in Oamaru to say their pupils were attending.

"We felt it was not appropriate to stop it."

Waitaki Boys' held an assembly earlier in the morning where a minute of silence was held for the popular former pupil who had died and the teenager who remained in hospital, but the school had yet to contact the families.

"We want to pay respect to the boy with an appropriate tribute, but we want the family's blessing."

The boys at the assembly were told to return to class after the haka, which had happened, Mr Paterson said.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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