Sam Boyer

Sam Boyer is a police reporter for the NZ Herald.

Siblings out of hospital after crash which killed mum

Two children seriously injured in a Bay of Plenty crash that killed their mother will today be released from Starship Hospital and will soon be heading home.

Faith, 3, and Phoenix, 4, were pulled from the wreckage of the car on May 3, and were rushed to Tauranga Hospital before being airlifted to Starship in Auckland.

Their mother Tracey O'Brien, 26, was killed in the crash.

She was not wearing her seatbelt and early indications show she was using her mobile phone, as her car veered into the path of another vehicle in Te Puna, just north of Tauranga.

This afternoon, the children were due to be taken by ambulance to Tauranga Hospital.

Their father Matt Ruddell, 27, hoped they would only be in hospital until the weekend when they should be able to go home.

"I'm stoked. It'll be a lot closer to home. We should be able to take them home hopefully next weekend, fingers crossed."

In the meantime, it'd make life easier having them back closer to his home in Tauranga, where he and the children will live with his parents Mark and Karen.

Mr Ruddell said he will return to work as a sous chef at The Phoenix in Tauranga next Monday, which "will be a bit of normality".

Faith suffered a broken leg bruising on her brain in the crash She was initially treated in the high-dependency unit, but was last week moved into a ward with her brother.

Phoenix remains in casts over about 75 per cent of his body, having received two broken femurs, a broken pelvis and a fractured arm.

The 4-year-old was back to his "boisterous" self, Mr Ruddell said, while Faith was "coming back through slowly".

"She's started gas-bagging a little bit and her cheeky grin is coming back," he said.

"They've been messing around and playing with each other."

The death of their mother had still not been broached as the family focused on getting the children physically healthy.

"I don't want to sit them down and tell them outright yet and stop the recovery programme.

"They've spoken about their mum and asked where she is ... [but] until they ask, my main focus is getting them home and in a better mindset than they're in now."

- NZ Herald

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