Four men killed had been at the pub

Four people were killed when a four wheel drive crashed in a paddock near Putorino, Hawkes Bay. Photo / SNPA, John Cowpland. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today
Four people were killed when a four wheel drive crashed in a paddock near Putorino, Hawkes Bay. Photo / SNPA, John Cowpland. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today

Four men killed in a crash in Hawkes Bay overnight had been drinking at a local pub last night.

Police said four men, aged 47, 64, 42 and 48 were killed when their Mitsubishi Pajero crashed on Waikare Rd, off State Highway 2 near Putorino in Hawkes Bay.

Police believed alcohol was a factor in the crash, in which the vehicle crashed through a fence and into a paddock. The crash was discovered by a local resident on her way to work this morning.

The four deaths add to a horror Queen's Birthday weekend on New Zealand roads, taking the toll to seven.

Senior Sergeant Sarah Stewart said police were still trying to determine what time the Pajero crashed.

The four men worked locally as farmhands but Ms Stewart said their names would not be released until their families had been notified.

She said initial investigations indicated the car lost control on a slight crest on the unsealed road, slid across the road, flipped and crashed through a fence and landed on its wheels in a paddock.

Three of the men were thrown from the vehicle and police said it was not known if anyone inside had been wearing a seatbelt.

Local woman Dianne Torr was on her way to work at 7.30am when she noticed headlights in her neighbour's paddock.

"I went and had a look and that's when I saw the body. Two occupants had come out of the vehicle and they were face down. I could tell they were dead. The two younger guys were inside the vehicle,'' she told APNZ.

"It had glanced off a willow tree, went through a fence and rolled.''

The two older men were believed to be friends who lived together on the farm where they worked, not far from the crash site, said Mrs Torr.

She rushed to the nearby home of a fire officer to raise the alarm.

Meanwhile, a 19-year-old man was killed when he was hit by a car on Birches Rd in Lincoln just after 2am.

Police would not release his identity but said the teenager was a local.

Another man died and three people were injured when a car hit a power pole south of Stratford in Taranaki last night.

Firefighters had to cut two people from the wreckage on Mountain Rd shortly before 9.30pm.

An elderly woman who had stopped her car with possible engine trouble was killed when she was hit by a car on State Highway 2 in Otane at Hawkes Bay last night.

Inspector Paul Jermy said it would have been dark when the woman stepped out of her car just before 6pm.

- HERALD ONLINE, APNZ

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