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The car involved in a collision with a station wagon in Invercargill that killed a mother of two was heard speeding through suburban streets before it failed to give way, according to those living nearby.
The crash, shortly after 9pm on Friday, killed Emma Joyce Bagley (37), of Invercargill, left her husband Leonard Bagley fighting for his life in hospital, while their two young children, Eva and Flynn, sustained minor to moderate injuries.
The driver of the second vehicle suffered serious injuries. His passenger was less seriously injured.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a woman living near the scene of the crash, at the intersection of Newcastle and Clifton Sts, said about a dozen neighbours rushed to help in the immediate aftermath.
"We heard a bang so we were straight out the door.''
Both parents were trapped in the family's overturned silver Kia station wagon.
The woman said she called 111 as her neighbours comforted Mrs Bagley, who had been driving, and at that point was still alive but gravely injured.
She paid tribute to the presence of mind and compassion of the bystanders.
"They were absolutely fantastic, they comforted those who needed it, then when it was time to give respect they moved away.''
Meanwhile, the two young men remained in the wreckage of their green four-door Subaru Impreza hatchback, dazed and covered in blood.
"Absolutely horrific,'' she said of the aftermath.
"It's left me shocked.''
The two young children were fastened securely into their rear seats in the station wagon, which appeared to have saved them from serious injury, she said.
Her neighbours reported hearing a car speeding in the seconds before the crash.
"My neighbour, who [lived] on the corner, said he heard a car accelerate and backfire.
"He said to his wife `stupid idiots,' and next thing he heard the crash.''
The woman said it appeared the Subaru had been travelling west in Newcastle St, careening through a give-way intersection before colliding with the family's vehicle, and the damage to both cars suggested it had been travelling at speeds well above the 50km/h limit.
Police appealed for information at the weekend from anyone who saw the Subaru prior to the crash.
A police spokeswoman yesterday thanked the people who had been in touch, but said the circumstances of the collision remained under investigation by the Serious Crash Unit.
A family member of Mr Bagley declined to comment yesterday, while the family of Mrs Bagley did not respond to requests for comment.
Mr Bagley, a Southern District Health Board clinical pharmacist, remained in a critical but stable condition in Christchurch hospital according to the last update on Sunday, but no further updates have been provided.
- A service to celebrate the life of Emma Bagley will be held in J. Fraser and Sons Chapel, on the corner of Esk and Doon Sts, Invercargill, at 1.30pm on Friday.
- Invercargill police (03)2110400, Crimestoppers 0800-555-111.