Fireman finds crash victim is nephew

By Amelia Wade

The car in which the teenager died rolled on a rural road. Three others in it were injured. Photo / APN
The car in which the teenager died rolled on a rural road. Three others in it were injured. Photo / APN

A volunteer fireman called to a fatal crash on a rural Hawke's Bay road arrived to find the victim was his teenage nephew.

The car in which the boy and three other teenagers were riding rolled on Charlotte St in Takapau about 7pm.

The 16-year-old died at the scene. He's been named this morning as Matthew Drummond.

A 14-year-old boy was flown to hospital in the Lowe Corporation rescue helicopter with moderate injuries, and a boy and girl suffered minor injuries.

Drummond was the son, grandson and nephew of three of the firemen at the Takapau Volunteer Fire Brigade station.

His uncle was one of the first at the scene and found out who was in the car only once he got there.

"It's the sort of thing you dread. You go to quite a few accidents and it's normally someone you don't know - but this was a bit close to home," he said.

"It's one of the nightmares that a parent has - what does it take to get the message through?

"It's a small town and the boys have lots of connections, uncles and aunts and family in the village ... so it's going to be a bit of a shock.

"What does it take? It might be unfortunate, but what does it take?"

After he found out who the victim was, all he could do was continue with the job at hand, the fireman said.

Fortunately, the boy's father and grandfather were working and so weren't available to be called out to the crash, he said.

"That was a real blessing."

The man said the police told the Drummond's parents about the accident because he was too busy at the scene.

"I didn't have time to make that call, but I did catch up with them."

Police were last night talking to the three survivors of the crash and taking statements from witnesses.

"It's young people having a bit of fun on the road and it's all gone wrong," the fireman said.

"As with every small town in New Zealand, young teenagers who think they're bullet-proof take out cars to have fun.

"It's terribly said and incredibly unnecessary. But this is what happens around the country, isn't it? All the young boys have a crack at it at some stage."

With time, the fireman said, he, his family and the community would get over the loss.

But he hoped his nephew's death would be a wake-up call for young people in the community to stop messing around in cars.

"The silly thing is that it takes something like this for that to happen - it's very sad."

The man said his nephew was a "lovely boy" who was really into motors and cars.

- NZ Herald

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