Update: Two dead as car hits tree

Two young people are dead after the car they were in ploughed into a tree in Edgecumbe last night.

Emergency services were called to Main St about 11pm after a white Subaru Legacy failed to take a moderate right-hand bend and skidded across two lanes of the street before wrapping itself around a tree.

Both the driver and front seat passenger died at the scene as a result of the crash.

Traffic Sergeant Ray Wylie said initial inquiries suggested speed, not wearing seatbelts and a breach of licence class were factors in the crash.

Main St is in the Edgecumbe township and has a 50km/h speed restriction.

Firefighters had to use the jaws of life to cut both people from the car.

The passenger's side of the car bore the brunt of the impact with the centre pillar shunted to almost the centre of the inside of the car.

The collision had also stripped the bark off the large tree.

Large lights were used to light the scene of the crash while emergency services carried out their work.

Tyres marks leading up to where the car finally stopped were clearly visible on the road and were dotted with police paint as part of the investigation into the deaths.

Alcohol bottles and cans were strewn on the ground.

This morning police said inquiries indicated the car, which was travelling north, failed to negotiate a moderate right-hand bend and as a result the vehicle crossed the centre line crashing into the tree.

The driver was a 19-year-old local man and the front seat passenger was a 25-year-old local man.

A person at the scene, who did not want to give his name, said he had been told both the driver and passenger had been socialising at a house not far from where the crash happened.

News of the double fatality spread quickly with family members and friends of the two deceased gathering at the scene soon after emergency services arrived.

Many sobbed openly and comforted each other as emergency services continued with their scene examination.

Cordons were set up 100m either side of the crash and tarpaulins were draped over the car.

Emergency service staff held the tarpaulin up to shield the bodies from view when they were taken from the car and placed in the hearse.

Most of the people had left when the tow truck arrived to take the car away.

Police are appealing for witnesses who may have seen the white Subaru motor vehicle on Main St immediately before the crash are asked to contact either the Edgecumbe police on (07) 3049004 or the Whakatane police on (07) 3085255.

"Speed, failure to wear a restraint and wrong class of licence are contributory factors in this crash, further analysis is required to determine whether alcohol is a factor in this crash," Mr Wylie said.

The name of the two people killed will be released once next of kin have been advised.

The matter has also been referred to the coroner.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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