Hurt Hawke's Bay motorist in boy racer convoy

By COREY CHARLTON

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Police say a woman in a coma after a crash at the weekend was a participant of a regular boy racer chain of up to 50 vehicles.

The 21-year-old remains in intensive care after her vehicle crashed into a concrete pole on Te Mata Mangateretere Rd about 1.50am on Saturday.

The car was driven by her 22-year-old brother, who lost control on a bend overtaking another vehicle. Speed was a major factor.

Police said the boy racers met in Napier every Friday night and formed "trains" or "chains" of up to 50 cars.

They often raced each other, usually on rural roads or in industrial areas.

The crash follows the death of Maree Shafer, 18, who died on February 19 when the car she was in crashed on Sandy Rd, Meeanee, during a high-speed race between boy racers.

Sergeant Clint Adamson said the boy racers were putting lives at risk - not just their own but also members of the public who might get caught up in their antics.

It was when they parked and started doing "stupid, risky behaviour" such as burnouts and racing that problems occurred, he said.

"I don't believe it was the full boy racer train but there was certainly a group of at least half-a-dozen cars that we believe were there," he said.

"When we got to the crash afterwards there were several cars there."

Police were interviewing a number of young people who were in the drag chain on that night. Several had come forward after a story about the high-speed crash was published in yesterday's Hawke's Bay Today.

"It's time for these so-called car enthusiasts to take a long hard look at themselves and their driving behaviour. They are making extremely poor driving decisions that have a huge impact on everyone in their vehicle and on the roads."

They need to take responsibility for their actions and realise that their version of having a good time is killing people."

Police were also concerned at the lax attitude among boy racers to wearing seatbelts. In almost all boy racer crashes, seatbelts were never worn.

Mr Adamson said it was a no-brainer: "If you're not wearing a seatbelt, you put your life at risk, especially in these types of situations.

"It's a real concern that these young people are willing to risk their lives for a bit of fun and excitement."

He believed Hollywood movies which depicted car racing had some influence on boy racers but they were also old enough to distinguish between movies and real life.

Police kept a keen eye on boy racer activity in the region, especially on a Friday night. Several Facebook pages such as Friday Drags HB were closely monitored.

"The onus is on boy racers to stand up and take responsibility for their actions," Mr Adamson said.

"How many more people have to die for them to get the message?"

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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