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The sole survivor of a horror crash that killed five Timaru teenagers earlier this year has been charged with five counts of manslaughter.
He has appeared in court this afternoon but The New Zealand Herald has learned some of the victim's families were not aware of the arrest.
Javarney Wayne Drummond, 15; Niko William Hill, 15; Jack "Jacko" Wallace, 16; Joseff "Joey" McCarthy, 16; and Andrew Goodger, 15, were all killed when the Nissan Bluebird they were travelling in smashed into a concrete power pole on August 7.
The impact was so severe, it sliced the car in half.
Only the driver, 19-year-old Tyreese Fleming, who was on a restricted licence, survived the smash.
He was taken to Timaru Hospital with moderate injuries and was well enough to post a message on social media the next day to let people know he was alive.
He was discharged from hospital a week after the crash.
Fleming has today been charged with five counts of manslaughter.
He appeared in the Timaru District Court this afternoon.
"Police would like to acknowledge the families of the young men," Aoraki Area Commander Inspector David Gaskin said.
"It has been an incredibly difficult time as they come to terms with the loss of their loved ones who died in such terrible circumstances.
"Timaru is a small community and a number of people have been impacted by this tragedy."
Gaskin would not comment further as the matter was before the courts.
It is understood some of the victims' families were not aware Fleming had been charged until after he had appeared in court.
Police had been waiting on a final expert report before a final decision was made on what charges Fleming would face.
It is understood that report was received in early December.
Gaskin said soon after the crash that speed and alcohol were thought to be factors in the crash, and it was clear many in the car were not wearing seatbelts.
One of the boys was in the boot when the car hit the pole.
Neither Fleming nor his parents have responded to the Herald's multiple requests for comment.
- By Anna Leask