'Rest easy brother': Friends remember teen killed in central Auckland crash

By Corazon Miller, Kirsty Johnston

Friends of the teenager who was killed in a crash in central Auckland this weekend have described him as a keen comedian and an aspiring radio broadcaster.

The crash victim has been identified as St Peter's College student, Robbie Taylor, who was to start his final year at school in a few weeks.

The 17-year-old had been riding in the front passenger seat of the car that went out of control and crashed into a tree on Ian McKinnon Drive in Eden Terrace on Sunday afternoon.

His school friends have described him as a keen gamer, a good student with a particular talent for English and as that kind of friendly, funny guy that everyone wanted to be around.

Year 13 student James Cameron said he'd known Mr Taylor since Year 9 and had been looking forward to taking media studies with him and finishing college together.

He believed his friend wanted to enter the media industry and held an aspiration to become a radio host.

"He was pretty much a comedian and funny to be around. He was pretty bright, even in class he was the type you'd want to sit next to," he said. "We had that kind of connection with gaming."

The 17-year-old had been riding in the front seat of the car that went out of control and crashed into a tree. Photo / Dean Purcell
The 17-year-old had been riding in the front seat of the car that went out of control and crashed into a tree. Photo / Dean Purcell

Mr Cameron said they had grown a lot closer in the past year and had a great time celebrating the New Year at Mangawhai -- the last time he'd seen his friend.

"I'm glad to have shared four years knowing you and the last day in the sun with you just this past New Year's swimming, laughing and making an air mattress boat and rowing it through the channel."

He spoke at the injustice of losing his friend who was just a passenger in the car.

"He was just in the car with them ... he didn't deserve it ... they were boy-racing, but it was just unfortunate that he was involved in this."

He said Mr Taylor would be missed by many in the school community.

"At our school we are brothers, it's hit everyone hard."

"Rest easy brother, 17 years old was too young to be stolen from our loving parents and mates. To find you are now gone from this world makes me hope you have found a better one. One day you can't wait to see your mate and the next you can find out he's gone ... make the most of the days you have. Love you Robbie. We will all miss you more than anyone can comprehend and may you rest in eternal and everlasting peace. Game on man ... Game on."

Mr Cameron, who made small films as a hobby, planned to dedicate his next film to his friend.

"I want to remember the hours we could have lived together," he said.

College headmaster James Bentley said it was devastating news for the school community. "We are all devastated to learn of the tragic news," he said. "He was a popular student and will be missed by all."

Mr Bentley said he'd spoken with Mr Taylor's family.

He said the school chapel would be open today for any staff and students who wanted to go in.

'The cars were racing'

An eyewitness reported seeing the car going "screaming" fast in the moments before the accident.

Resident Sonia Greenslade believed she saw two cars, including the one later found wrapped around a tree, racing just before they crashed.

"I'm just distraught. As I was leaving my street I saw them just screaming past, they must have been going over 150km/h, they were racing."

Ms Greenslade claimed she saw a dark car overtake a silver car as she went to pull out of Haslett St on to Dominion Rd.

"I just thought, 'You idiots, what are you doing driving so fast and overtaking?'."

When she returned an hour later, police had blocked off the street and she knew instantly what had happened.

"I figured they had either killed themselves or someone else. I wasn't surprised.

"I just feel for their parents. I'm so sad this has happened, and was it worth it?"

Two others were injured in the crash, which happened just before midday on Sunday. After the crash, the Fire Service worked for half an hour to free a person trapped in the wreckage.

The death brings the road toll to 19 just over halfway into January -- five more than the same time last year.

Road fatalities in 2016 are averaging at just over one a day with 19 deaths in 18 days.

Three of those who have died this year were under the age of 20 -- including a 2-year-old girl who died after being flung from a rolling vehicle in Hawkes Bay last week.

- NZ Herald

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