Serious injuries in crashes

By Kristin Edge

At least two people remain in serious condition in hospital after separate crashes within 24 hours on Northland roads.

The region's road death toll stands at two - both fatalities involving motorcyclists.

On Friday a man and a woman riding south on a motorbike collided with a car turning right out of Shoemaker Rd on to State Highway One about 5.20pm.

Serious Crash Unit Senior Constable Jim Hawthorn said both riders were taken to hospital by helicopter but the driver of the car was treated at the scene.

Police diversions were put in place as emergency services converged on the scene.

One of the Northland Electricity rescue helicopters was called and a second one on a return trip from Auckland to transport a 27-week-pregnant mother, also landed and then flew the injured bike riders to Whangarei.

They were later taken to Auckland. They both remain in hospital.

In a crash on Saturday, a 53-year-old Hastings motorcyclist was flown to Whangarei Hospital after crashing into a power pole on State Highway 10 near Kaeo, about 11.54am.

Mr Hawthorn said the man sustained serious injuries after failing to take a bend on his motorbike.

It's believed he had been riding with a group of motorbike riders heading to Mangonui for the annual tattoo and motorbike competition.

He had gone to the head of the pack before crashing and demolishing the power pole.

The rescue helicopter team was again in action flying the injured man to Whangarei.

As the serious crash investigator was on the road to Kaeo, he was alerted to another crash involving a van about two kilometres south of Oakleigh, on State Highway One, about 12.45pm.

After surveying the Far North site, Mr Hawthorn returned to Oakleigh where he said a woman driving a van south had failed to take a bend at the beginning of passing lanes.

The vehicle had crashed into a ditch then launched into a paddock.

She was seriously injured but it was unclear what had happened to a child in the vehicle.

She remained in a serious condition in the Intensive Care Unit of Whangarei Hospital.

Mr Hawthorn said members of the serious crash unit who had attended the two fatal crashes had also been to 14 other serious crashes so far this year.

There had been seven in the Whangarei/Kaipara area and seven in the Far North.

The first fatality was outside a rural Northland service station where a 20-year-old motorcyclist died after colliding with another vehicle. He was Aaron Nigel Rudkin of Ruawai.

The crash happened in Jellicoe St in Ruawai, 30km southeast of Dargaville, just before 6pm on January 8.

The other death involved an English tourist on a motorcycle who crashed on Old Russell Rd on February 2. He later died in hospital.

Whether the death of a truck driver in Whangarei last week will be counted in the road toll is still being considered.

- Northern Advocate

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