Police urge care after high weekend toll

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Six fatal crashes over Labour Weekend so far have prompted police to call for more care on the road, as traffic volumes are set to remain high today.

In the latest incident, a driver died after a crash in Tokomaru in Horowhenua last night.  Two vehicles collided at the Makerua Rd and Williams Road intersection about 11.30pm.

The driver and sole occupant of one vehicle died at the scene. A passenger in the second vehicle suffered moderate injuries.

Yesterday, police named 42-year-old Che Tekapa Hogg, of Auckland, as the man killed in a two-car crash in State Highway 8 near Lake Tekapo township about 9am on Saturday.

The crash that killed Mr Hogg also resulted in three people in a second car being airlifted to Christchurch Hospital - all three remained in a critical condition yesterday.

A police spokeswoman said police did not comment on the circumstances of the crash prior to an investigation being completed.

But the spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that two of those injured in the crash were children, who would have died had they not been safely secured in car seats.

Stuff reported yesterday Mr Hogg was the driver of a car that crossed the centre-line and collided with a car driven by a father whose two young children were in the back.

The car had been seen driving erratically and police were looking at cellphone use and speed as factors in their investigation, Stuff said.

National road policing manager and acting superintendent Gini Welch told drivers to be safe on the roads.

‘‘Too many people have already lost their lives or been seriously injured on the roads this weekend,’’ Acting Supt Welch said.

‘‘We’re expecting a significant amount of traffic across the country [today] and we know it can be stressful when there are so many vehicles on the road, especially when you’re in a rush to get to your destination.’’

She appealed to everyone on the road to do their bit to ensure everyone got home safely.

NZ Transport Agency safety, health and environment general manager Greg Lazarro said congestionand some delays would be unavoidable at peak times.

The NZTA holiday journeys map shows that State Highway 1 at Timaru, State Highway 6 at Queenstown and State Highway 8at Tarras as among the popular routes it expected to be busy today based on previous years’ Labour Weekend travel patterns.

Just an hour after the weekend period started, a motorcyclist was killed in rush-hour traffic.

The crash happened on Main Rd North (State Highway 2), in Timberlea, Upper Hutt, on Friday.

A second person was killed early on Saturday morning near Gisborne.

Emergency services were called to the crash on Whatatutu Rd, Te Karaka, just before 2am. Seven hours later, Mr Hogg died near Tekapo.

A pedestrian died on Saturday afternoon after being struck by a heavy vehicle near Whanganui. The incident occurred about 2pm on State Highway 3 at Westmere.

Police reported the fifth fatal crash of the Labour Weekend yesterday about 5.30pm, when they confirmed one person died after a car rolled on State Highway 35 in Tikitiki, in the East Cape earlier in the afternoon.

Just one person died on our roads during the corresponding holiday period in 2019.

The weekend period started at 4pm on Friday and runs until 6am tomorrow.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz 

- additional reporting RNZ

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