Drag race goes horribly wrong

By amy shanks


Police are hunting the driver of a car they believe sped away from the "graphic" remains of a crashed BMW it was drag-racing just minutes beforehand.

The sickening crash in Central Hawke's Bay saw one car "catapulted into the air" and ended with four teenagers sent to hospital - with a critically injured male needing to be revived after his heart-stopped at the scene.

It's understood party-goers had earlier attempted to take the keys off the female teenage driver, just moments before she lost control and crashed at high speed on Racecourse Rd.

Police were still seeking a second vehicle which fled before the occupants of a neighbouring house called emergency services, just after 11pm on Thursday night.

"We're keen to speak to anyone who knows anything about the second vehicle that was involved in this. We believe the two cars may have been racing and we want to speak to the occupants of that vehicle urgently," Sergeant Clint Adamson of Hawke's Bay Police said.

Two males aged 16 and 17 were fighting for their lives in a critical condition at Hawke's Bay Hospital last night, while two females - a 19-year-old driver and 18-year-old passenger, were listed as serious but stable.

One of the males was so badly injured his heart had to be re-started by paramedics at the scene.

"We know one of them died and was revived," Hastings Police Senior Constable Tim Rowe said. "We expected to see three or four fatals, how anyone survived is a miracle, it's pretty horrific."

Three ambulances and a helicopter attended the crash, tying up half of St John's resources for over two hours.

St John Ambulance Service district operations manager Stephen Smith said three of the four were taken to hospital by amublance, while the fourth, was flown by resuce chopper.

"One of the males has critical head injuries the other has critical spine injuries and a fractured leg."

He was unsure of the nature of the females' injuries.

Mr Rowe said it was a dramatic scene that greeted emergency services.

"The damage to that car if nothing else, it's one of the most graphic things I have come across in 16 years.

"From the marks we can assume that there were two vehicles racing, what happened was that one of them started to lose control, it's gone into the drain, hit a concrete abutment at very high speed and catapulted into the air, disintegrated, and come to a halt about 30m to 40m away."

It was about 140m from where the car began breaking and skidding, to the spot where it came to rest.

Police believe the crash was fuelled by speed and alcohol.

"Bloods were taken from the driver because it was suspected she had definitely been drinking. The front left passenger was wearing a seatbelt and that side got the worst impact, but we don't think they were all restrained."

Waipukurau deputy chief fire officer Owen Spotswood said he understood the occupants of the BMW had been drinking at a party before getting in the car.

"It's one of the worst I have seen as far as the vehicle being completely ripped apart. The motor was completely ripped out, the whole front of the car was missing," Mr Spotswood said.

"There was one person who was out of the car about 20m to 30m away from the wreck, the other was lying in a ditch next to the car. One of the men who was critical was half pie sitting in the passenger seat the other half of him was outside."

Messages of love and support for the accident victims flowed on social networking site Facebook,yesterday.

One poster sent her best wishes and a deeper message about drink driving. "This has happened alot lately, young groups of teenagers having accidents. Alcohol's involved, and sometimes it's not. We all post about what happens for our own reasons, not for sympathy, but for support to our loved ones involved. Terangi and Noel, you are both strong boys and we all know you guys will pull through. For the others involved, keep your head up, and don't give up."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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