Crash survivors face charges

By Staff Reporter editorial@age.co.nz -
3 comments
Featherston boys Hoani Korewha, left, and Pacer Willacy-Scott, both 15, died from injuries received when a stolen car was crashed during a police pursuit. PHOTOS/FACEBOOK
Featherston boys Hoani Korewha, left, and Pacer Willacy-Scott, both 15, died from injuries received when a stolen car was crashed during a police pursuit. PHOTOS/FACEBOOK

The two survivors of a deadly car chase on Sunday will be charged, police said yesterday.

The Featherston boys, aged 14 or 15, were with Hoani Wiremu Korewha, 15, and Pacer Willacy-Scott, 15, when they fled from police in a stolen car at dangerously high speeds, crashing into a pole in Masterton's Queen St about 2.15am on Sunday.

Hoani and Pacer died in Wairarapa Hospital, while the other two were admitted with injuries.

The pair were discharged from hospital yesterday afternoon. They did not appear in court yesterday and at time of going to press the police had not specified the charges.

The NZ Herald has reported Hoani and Pacer were known to police, with Hoani having had a long history of trouble in Featherston.

He had been due to go before the courts for a car break-in in Featherston in December, with a 14-year-old boy.

The pair had fled the scene after being confronted by the car's owner, but four other teenagers challenged the owner and a neighbour, forcing them to retreat.

The six teens were arrested a short time later by a police dog team, with one teen bitten after he kicked out at the dog.

A caller to the Times-Age yesterday morning, who did not want to be named, said Hoani and others had "caused so much bloody trouble in this town" and he had moved his children away because of him.

"They stole everything that wasn't nailed down."

South Wairarapa mayor Adrienne Staples told the NZ Herald the teens had got into "a lot of trouble in their lives" but that did not take away from the "absolute tragedy to the parents".

It has also been revealed the car they were in was stolen on Saturday night from a Featherson baker and volunteer fireman who had previously employed one of the youths.

The car belonged to Martin Grice, who runs The Village Baker in the town.

Alan Maxwell, co-ordinator of Wairarapa Anglican Youth (WAY), said three of the four teens in the car had attended the Featherston-based group he founded nine months ago to help with troubled youths. They had helped with working bees, he said.

He had received messages from other group leaders and community agencies "asking me what can they do to help" and he hoped there would be a combined community response.

"I'm devastated but more angry than anything else because the writing's on the wall when these kids have such limited choices and the community is so apathetic to it all," he said.

"The bottom line is they're just bored and if we don't give them things to do, they find stupid things to do and make stupid choices.

The incident has sparked debate online about the boys' actions and the police response -- some saying the teens were old enough to know better and should have stopped for police, others saying the deaths were a tragedy and people should respect their grieving families.

The debate on the Herald Facebook page has garnered more than 250 comments.

Colleen Evans-Mcleod said: "They shouldnt have stolen the car in the first place and bad decision of the driver of the car to flee. Police doing there job [sic]. The kids broke the law in the first place sad for the families but at that age the know right from wrong and actions have consequences lets hope there mates learn from this sad outcome [sic]."

Sarah Warfield agreed: "They fled the police to try and evade the consequences. They knew they were in the wrong and carried on anyway. At 15, you don't need your parents to tell you that stealing, driving illegally, fleeing the police and putting others in danger is wrong. Yes, it is a sad and difficult time for their family, but this tragedy was preventable and that onus is still on them."

Posts on the Times-Age page want the parents to take more control.

Joe Nato said he knew the background of the teens involved.

"They were always getting into trouble, if they weren't ripping off houses/cars, then they were vandalising personal and public property.

"This wasn't a one-off thing and we all know it! Where were the adults in their lives, the people that are responsible for them while they were out doing this."

Carmon Maru said the parents were to blame for the teenagers continuously being a nuisance.

"Violence, thefts, the list goes on.

"If they had of been dealt with properly then maybe they wouldn't of been a recurring nuisance to their community and more. Terrible things happen when these kids just blatantly play up the way they were."

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