Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Te Kuiti car crash claims third victim

Helicopters flew the injured from Te Kuiti's fatal car crash to hospital. Photo / Supplied: Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter
Helicopters flew the injured from Te Kuiti's fatal car crash to hospital. Photo / Supplied: Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter

A third person involved in a crash near Te Kuiti, which has already claimed two lives, has succumbed to her injuries, dying in hospital overnight.

Waikato road policing Senior Sergeant Stephen Ambler said 45-year-old Northland woman Leonie Angela Berger was the third of the occupants of the same car to die as a result of the crash on Te Kuiti's main road on Saturday afternoon.

Leroy John Brown, 9, was the youngest of the three to die, along with Leonard Marshall Mackey, 59, from Ashburton.

A fourth passenger - a 7-year-old girl - remains in Starship hospital with moderate injuries.

Leroy was remembered by his family in a heartbreaking funeral notice today, with them declaring the last nine years had been "the best in our lives".

"You have brought us so much energy and enjoyed everything in life. Fond memories which will last forever - Thank you - even teach us new tricks catching fish.

You are a shining star little man, not a second will go by without you being in everyone's hearts. Keep shining bright our little playmate."

Mr Ambler said it was too early to say what the cause of the crash was but he confirmed that one of the vehicles had ventured into the wrong lane.

Leroy's vehicle was heading north when the crash happened near the Te Kuiti New World supermarket.

The two occupants of the other vehicle were from Waitomo and recovering from their injuries. The driver is in hospital with a broken wrist and a 4-year-old boy has minor injuries.

While it was too early to comment on specifics of the crash or what may have caused it, Mr Ambler said this was a tragic loss of life and something that weighed heavily in the hearts and minds of all of the officers that had something to do with attending the harrowing incident.

The NZ Police offers its collective condolences and sympathies to the families and the wider communities that are suffering due to the tragic event, he said.

Mr Ambler also named 19-year-old Bradon Vincent, of Hamilton, who died after his car crashed into a tree while following an associate on Friday night.

No other vehicles were involved.

"For an as yet unknown reason, Mr Vincent's motor vehicle has left the road and crashed into a tree."

Mr Ambler said it was too early to determine what the cause of the crash was and the matter is still under investigation by the Waikato Serious Crash Unit.

The deaths resulted in a tragic weekend on Waikato's roads and increased the district's road toll to eight deaths for the month of February and 13 deaths for the 2016 year.

Mr Ambler said roads were a dangerous environment which required a driver's full attention.

"This week police are targeting people not wearing restraints in a national operation. This is because more and more people are not wearing seatbelts and an increase in deaths because of this."

- NZ Herald

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