Editorial: Blighted forever by crashes

"Police say speed and possibly alcohol were factors in the crash... The car crossed the centre line into the path of the 4x4... The two vehicles collided head-on... Three passengers in the back seat were thrown from the car. None was wearing seatbelts and all died at the scene. The driver of the car also died... The car was seen driving at high speed immediately prior to the crash."

Speed, no seatbelts, possibly alcohol. They were the chilling main points to emerge from yesterday's police press release following the death of four Wairoa men in a two-vehicle collision in northern Hawke's Bay the previous night.

Chilling but almost expected, so often do such explanations accompany the tragedies played out on our roads.

They were merely the official words to go with the graphic photography which captured the devastation at the scene. Just another tragic day on a Hawke's Bay road to go with several that have gone beforehand.

Four lives gone forever: Kennedy James Weir, 49, Watson Oliver Tipu, 31, and half-brothers Raimon Keefe, 16, and Zyah Gianni Marsh, 13.

Grieving family members now trying to make sense of what has happened. Police issuing further warnings, dealing in the facts.

The crash is the worst on New Zealand roads in almost three years, but only in the number of people who have died.

Every road death leaves a heavy imprint.

Just ask any family who has suffered such tragedy and they will tell you that the imprint is for life.

The photo fading on the sideboard. The family occasions blighted by absence. The visits to the cemetery. The broken hearts that never fully mend.

People will always die on the roads. The nature of cars and humankind dictate that. And that is almost acknowledged by emergency services who championed last year's reduced road toll. 284 people still died, many of whom were the architects of their own misfortune.

The only good news from this crash is that a 62-year-old man, the driver of the 4x4, is now in Hawke's Bay Hospital. It is a blessing that he appears to be doing well, as does the only survivor from the car, a 17-year-old.

As they recover police will continue to work our roads, families will continue to grieve, and many of us will hope for the best as we travel around our wonderful country.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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