Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Road toll figures disappoint police

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The fatal road crash on SH2 near Pukehina on Saturday which killed two brothers and injured a third.
The fatal road crash on SH2 near Pukehina on Saturday which killed two brothers and injured a third.

Four people have died on Western Bay roads this year - and that is four too many, says the district's senior traffic cop

A crash on Saturday claimed the lives of two brothers. Their 15-year-old sibling was treated at Tauranga Hospital for moderate injuries and discharged the same day.

Te Hira Whittaker-Ngaropo, 12, and his 16-year-old brother Chance, both of Auckland, died when the car they were in crashed on State Highway 2, in Pikowai, near Pukehina.

Te Hira, who was seated in the back, died at the scene, and Chance died at Waikato Hospital.

Head of Western Bay road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion confirmed Chance was driving and seated beside him was his and Te Hira's 15-year-old brother Cruz Whittaker-Ngaropo.

Mr Campion said police did not believe speed was a factor in the fatality.

"But it's very early days, and we're still in the evidence-gathering stage of this investigation."

In 2013, the Western Bay achieved its lowest road toll since 2003, with six fatalities.

In 2014, 16 people died on local roads, and the 2015 provisional road toll for the region stands at 18 deaths.

Mr Campion said there had been four road deaths in the district this year. On May 7, Tauranga man Dion Pollero, 29, was killed after his car collided with a truck on on the Kaimai Range

On April 16, Shinia Matehaere, 5, was killed while riding her bike on Matapihi Rd after a collision with a ute.

"We could pat ourselves on the back and say four deaths is a low number but it's still four people who will no longer be able to share birthdays, Christmas, and other special occasions with their families and friends."

Other 2016 Western Bay fatal road crashes:

* April 16: Cyclist Shinia Matehaere, 5, killed on Matapihi Rd after a collision with a ute.

* May 7: Tauranga man Dion Pollero, 29, was killed after his car collided with a truck on SH29 on the Kaimai Range.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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