Families of teens killed in Timaru crash wake to 'nightmare that won't go away'

Source: 1News

A South Canterbury community is reeling from the aftermath of last night’s fatal crash which killed five Timaru teenagers. A sixth boy, who was the driver, is also in hospital with serious injuries. 

The overloaded sedan crashed into a power pole at the intersection of Seadown Road and Meadows Road in Washdyke, north of Timaru; hitting it with such force that the car split in two. 

Inspector Dave Gaskin this morning told media five passengers, aged 15 and 16-year-old, were found dead on arrival with one having been riding in the car boot. 

“The vehicle involved was a Nissan Bluebird, and apparently it hit a power pole with such force that it broke in half, spreading debris down the road,” Gaskin said.

Having crammed into the car without enough seats, Gaskin said that he doesn't believe many, if any, of the boys were wearing a seatbelt. 

It is also not known whether any of the boys had their drivers license, let alone their full license, he said.

"With the young men being 15 and 16 and the driver only being 19, you would expect he probably doesn't have his full license." 

Gaskin noted their deaths will have been a significant blow for the tight knit community of Timaru, adding that he had known one of the boys involved. 

"Timaru is a very small community, and I'm sure this is going to touch a lot of people. I knew one of the boys, I know the family of one of the boys. 

"It is a tragedy and it will reverberate in our community for some time." 

The 19-year-old being treated in Timaru Hospital is "surrounded by family" and is yet to be interviewed by police. 

According to Gaskin, police had been out patrolling the area earlier that night following reports of a boy racer in the area. 

While he confirmed these teens weren't the vehicle in question, the crash had happened at a notorious intersection. 

"This is not unusual for these intersections - Meadows Road and Seadown Road. It is a wide intersection with long straights and it is a favourite for those who wish to carry out antisocial road user activity." 

A full crash investigation will be carried out, however, it does appear speed and potentially alcohol were a factor in the crash.

"It is pretty clear that there are a number of contributing factors, obviously speed, appears alcohol may have been involved and there were six people in the vehicle, there's only five lots of seatbelts."

Police are asking for anyone who may have seen the Nissan Bluebird last night, with the registration UI17799, to contact them on 105.