Rebecca Quilliam

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

Holiday road toll rises to four

A baby died following a crash on SH4 in Owhango. Photo / Lloyd Mason
A baby died following a crash on SH4 in Owhango. Photo / Lloyd Mason

The holiday road toll has risen to four following a two-car crash in Southland today.

One person died in the head-on crash, which happened on a road between Te Anau and Mossburn about 3.30pm, a police spokesman said.

Two other people were injured.

"There were two cars. One was on the wrong side of the road, going up a hill," the spokesman said.

The gender and age of the victim had not yet been confirmed.

A young child was killed today in a crash near Taumarunui and an 11-month-old girl died after a crash north of Wellington yesterday.

Today's crash happened on State Highway 4, between Owhango and National Park about 1.15pm, Inspector Marty Parker of central police communications said.

One vehicle was involved in the incident and was travelling north at the time.

Initial reports were that the vehicle crossed over the centre line and crashed, Mr Parker said.

There were three occupants in the vehicle including the child.

In yesterday's crash, the 11-month-old girl suffered serious injuries after the car she was in rolled near Raumati South about 2pm.

She died in hospital last night, Capital and Coast DHB spokesman Lindsay Davis said.

Her mother was still in a serious condition in the intensive care unit.

Inspector Marty Parker from central police communications said the crash happened on State Highway 1, near Poplar Avenue, where the lanes merge from two to one.

Kapiti Coast police were investigating.

Senior Sergeant Stan Wagner of Wellington police said witnesses were being interviewed today and the matter had been referred to the coroner.

While it was too early to know the circumstances in the two crashes, Assistant Commissioner for Road Policing Dave Cliff said it was crucial children were restrained correctly.

Legislation changed in November requiring all children up to the age of 7 to be restrained in approved carseats.

"That was all for the reason that research says a child needs to fit an adult seatbelt correctly to be safe,'' Mr Cliff said.

Advise on how children can be best restrained in their seats can be found on the website transport.govt.nz or Plunket "who are the gurus on how to mount your car restraint correctly'', Mr Cliff said.

The other message was around crash avoidance, he said.

"So keeping speed down, not driving while drowsy, not driving after drinking alcohol, being attentive - those things become really important when you've got kids on board.''

The children's deaths took the official Christmas holiday road toll to three.

Sandy Paul Waenga Brown, 21, from Paua, died following a car crash in the Far North early on Christmas Day.

The official holiday road toll period started at 4pm on Christmas Eve and will finish at 6am on January 3.

- APNZ

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