A young Northland woman is dead and another seriously injured after a crash near Ōkaihau early yesterday. Neither the driver nor passenger were believed to be wearing seatbelts when the vehicle veered off the left-hand side of State Highway 1 as it was heading towards Ōhaeawai just south of Waiare Rd.
The Nissan station wagon missed a barrier over a culvert, dropped into a creek, hit the opposite bank and flipped.
The deceased woman, thought to be in her 20s, was thrown from the vehicle.
Sergeant Ross Laurie, of Mid North police, said the other woman had been flown to Whangārei Hospital by the Northland Rescue Helicopter.
She was conscious and talking but had suffered serious head and other injuries.
It was too early to say what had caused the crash.
The deceased woman's name would not be released until next of kin had been notified.
SH1 was closed between Waiare Rd and Wehirua Rd for more than three hours.
An iwi liaison officer conducted a blessing as the woman's body was removed about 10am.
The alarm was raised by a member of the public about 6.45am on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear when the crash occurred.
Crash investigator Senior Constable Jeff Cramp said there were no signs of braking where the vehicle left the highway and neither occupant was wearing a seatbelt.
The crash brings Northland's road toll for the year to date to 16, just one behind the same time last year — despite the Covid-19 lockdown drastically reducing the number of vehicles on the road for five weeks.
Failing to take basic safety precautions, such as wearing seatbelts in cars and helmets on motorbikes, has contributed to a significant proportion of Northland road deaths so far this year.
• Anyone who witnessed the crash is urged to call police on the non-emergency line 105.