Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

Fatal crash raises road toll

Photo / File
Photo / File

The Easter holiday road toll has risen to two following a fatal crash north of Taupo early today.

A 53-year-old Wellington man was killed when the Suzuki vehicle he was a passenger in and a BMW collided on State Highway 5, Wairakei, about 2am.

The 18-year-old driver of the BMW was taken to Taupo Hospital with minor injuries and the 54-year-old driver of the Suzuki was flown by helicopter to Waikato Hospital in a serious condition.

A police scene examination indicated one vehicle crossed to the incorrect side of the road and collided head on with the other vehicle.

Senior Sergeant Fane Troy of the Taupo Road Policing Group said it was a tragic loss of life on the roads.

"Police want to remind all road users to take care. Ensure that when driving for long periods you stop and take regular breaks.''

Alcohol and speed were not believed to be factors in the crash.

The name of the deceased would be released once family had been told, Mr Fane said.

Just two hours into the official Easter holiday period a cyclist and a vehicle collided in South Canterbury.

The 55-year-old man died after his bike and a vehicle collided at an intersection in Milford, north of Timaru, at 6pm on Thursday.

The crash has been described as "the worst nightmare'' by police, who were hoping for a repeat of last Easter's record-breaking run without a single fatality - the first time since records began 57 years ago.

Mid-South Canterbury area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin confirmed the cyclist was a Temuka man but police were not yet ready to release his name.

National road policing manager Superintendent Carey Griffiths said police would be a highly visible presence in urban and rural areas throughout the country over Easter.

They would focus on enforcing the lowered 4km/h speed tolerance, which applies during all holiday periods, as well as targeting drunk and dangerous driving.

More than 560 people have been killed in Easter road crashes since 1956.

- APNZ

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