Natalie Akoorie is a reporter at the NZ Herald based in Hamilton.

Teen Hayley Taylor killed in Southland crash

Hayley Taylor has been named by police as the victim of a fatal car crash in Southland on Thursday. Photo / Facebook.
Hayley Taylor has been named by police as the victim of a fatal car crash in Southland on Thursday. Photo / Facebook.

The father of a young woman killed in a car crash says his daughter "lived life to the fullest" and would be remembered for her bubbly personality.

Hayley Taylor died on Thursday night after the car she was driving crashed at the Mataura River Bridge near Wyndham, outside Invercargill.

Stephen Taylor told the Herald his youngest daughter was a "bubbly girl" who was "full of life".

"She loved life really. Lived it to the fullest."

Hayley represented Southland in water polo and was popular growing up, Taylor said.

The 18-year-old was "bestest friends" with her older sister Jamie, he added.

They were "tight" and had remained that way after Taylor and his wife Lisa moved to Arrowtown earlier this year.

The family were coping okay at the moment as they planned Hayley's funeral.

Best friend Brooke Wilson said Hayley had been driving home to her flat in Invercargill from Wilson's house in Wyndham when the crash happened about 6.10pm.

She said it was possible Hayley may have been affected by sun strike because the sun had been low in the sky at the time, but police were still investigating the cause.

Wilson, who met Hayley as a five-year-old at Newfield Primary School, said the pair had been inseparable for 13 years.

"She was at my house on Thursday before she crashed."

She said another friend had been trying to get to work on Edendale-Wyndham Rd when she was diverted from the crash scene.

"So we went for a wee drive around the long way and we could see it was her [Hayley's] car and the police came and informed us."

That day the pair had talked for hours as they watched Wilson's father and boyfriend milk cows and planned what they might do on December 19 to celebrate Hayley's 19th birthday.

Wilson said she would cherish those memories forever.

"She was really lovely. Always had a smile on her face. Always dressed up to the nines."

Pregnant with her first child due in March, Wilson said Hayley was excited about her friend's impending arrival and adored children.

"She loved kids. She was very excited [for me]."

Workmates have described Hayley as a "beautiful" and "bubbly" person.

The teenager began working at the Waikiwi BP Service Station 10 days ago as a barista and kitchen hand but already she was popular among colleagues.

Mel Davidson said staff at the petrol station were all "pretty devastated" by the crash that claimed Hayley's life.

"[She was] beautiful, bubbly, had the smile of an angel," Davidson said.

Previously Hayley worked at The Saucy Chef on St Andrew [St] in Invercargill.

Staff there posted a photograph and tribute to the teenager on the restaurant's Facebook page on Friday.

"We are deeply saddened to hear of the loss [of] Hayley, who was part of our team for some time.

"We will miss her sparkle and kind nature immensely. Our hearts and thoughts go out to her family at this time."

Manager Heather Jordan said Hayley's death had hit the team hard after she had worked at the restaurant for about six months.

"I worked every day with her. She was just a very kind-hearted, generous person. Very sparkly."

Jordan said Hayley had worked as a hairdresser before joining The Saucy Chef.

She studied hairdressing at the Southern Institute of Technology but quit before qualifying after deciding it was not for her.

Jordan said Hayley, who was employed as a waitress, was a natural in the hospitality industry.

"She was great at it and the customers absolutely loved her. They knew her by name."

Hayley's funeral will take place on Wednesday at 10am at the Invercargill Workingmen's Club.

- NZ Herald

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