Do whatever it takes to stop your mates driving drunk.
That's the plea from police after another Northlander died days after a crash in which alcohol was the believed to be the main factor.
It comes as police also had to deal with a fleeing driver who hit a school bus near Kawakawa.
In the fatal crash, a 22-year-old Whangārei Heads man was driving east on Whangārei Heads Rd just after midnight last Saturday when he lost control on a moderate corner at Tamaterau, rolling the vehicle for about 25m.
He was flown to Auckland City Hospital in a critical condition and died there on Thursday.
His death brings Northland's road toll so far this year to 21 — the same as this time last year, despite a drop in New Zealand's overall road toll due to the lockdown.
Senior Sergeant Steve Dickson, the head of Northland road policing, said it was yet another death in which alcohol was ''a big factor''.
''We need the community to play their part. If you're going to be drinking, have a plan before you start. If someone you know is about to drive while intoxicated or impaired by drugs, stop them. Offer them a bed or a couch for the night, call a taxi, find a sober friend ... do whatever it takes to stop people driving drunk.''
Such deaths were totally preventable and unnecessary, Dickson said.
''This was a young person with their life ahead of them. Now there's a family and a wide group of friends and relatives grieving.''
The investigation was continuing. Experts from the police Serious Crash Unit attended on the night and their report would help guide the Coroner as to what occurred and why.
At the time police said speed was also a likely factor. The crash happened in a 50km/h zone.
Alcohol was also suspected in another incident on Whangārei Heads Rd about 1.10pm on the same day, September 12.
In that case Dickson said a passenger had climbed out the window or sunroof of a moving vehicle and fallen on to the road. He was taken to Whangārei Hospital with injuries that were not thought to be life threatening.
The injured man was believed to have been intoxicated but the driver and other occupants did not contribute to the accident or do anything wrong, Dickson said.
The 20th person to die on Northland roads this year was 18-year-old Trinity Flavell, who was driving with four passengers on September 5 when her vehicle hit a power pole near the intersection of Pipiwai and Matarau roads, just north of Whangārei. She was airlifted to Auckland City Hospital in a critical condition and died some days later.
Meanwhile, a driver who crashed into a school bus on a rural Northland road was fleeing police at the time and wanted for alleged offences involving firearms and violence.
The crash occurred on Matawaia-Maromaku Rd, south of Kawakawa, about 4.25pm on Thursday.
Dickson said officers initially tried to stop the vehicle due to its speed. The driver allegedly refused to stop and eventually collided with a school bus. There were no children on the bus at the time.
The fleeing driver jumped out of the Toyota Camry and allegedly tried to escape on foot.
He was tracked and arrested in scrub a short distance away by a police dog and handler.
He appeared in the Kaikohe District Court on Friday. There were also warrants for his arrest on earlier charges relating to alleged violence, firearms and property damage offences.
The bus driver, who was not injured but was badly shaken, was receiving support.
Less than half an hour later, at 4.25pm, two Harley Davidson motorcycles and a Nissan car collided on State Highway 12 between Ōmāpere and Waimamaku, South Hokianga.
The riders, one in a serious condition and the other moderate, were flown in separate helicopters to Whangārei Hospital.
The riders were aged 46 and 56 and from the Mid North area.
The driver of the car, which had been travelling in the opposite direction to the bikes, suffered minor injuries.
Dickson said police suspected alcohol was a factor for the riders.
The police Serious Crash Unit was investigating.