Two brothers killed in a crash yesterday evening are survived by five young children between them and a pregnant partner each.
Police found Jason and Justin Keith, 27 and 30 respectively, of Feilding, dead at the scene of the three-car crash on State Highway 3 near Bulls about 4.25pm on Sunday.
“These young men were much loved and cherished sons, grandsons, brothers, partners, uncles, nephews, cousins, friends and fathers,” family friend Nicole Tuffey said.
“[They had] five beautiful children with another two on the way. [They’re] now flying free together,” she said.
The pair’s families “do not wish to speak to the media at this time”, Tuffey told the Herald.
She said the brothers’ deaths were “extremely fresh and the family [were] devastated”.
Tuffey started a Givealittle page to cover funeral costs along with school, medical, dental and other expenses for the pair’s children.
“We welcome any contribution you can make to ensure Justin and Jason’s children and family feel the support they need [at] this heartbreaking time,” Tuffey wrote.
One mourner, Michael Patey, said he was in disbelief: “RIP brother Justin Keith. [He] was taken way too soon. [I] really can’t believe it.”
Another, Vanessa Kearney, said “sorry to the family and many friends they have. RIP to you both, Jason and Justin Keith”.
“Also [to] their parents, their babies’ mothers and especially their children. Much love to you all,” Kearney said.
Aunt Ellen Wallace said the pair were “taken so suddenly, so needlessly”.
The Givealittle page had received more than $900 in donations by 3pm on Monday.
Police closed State Highway 3 for the emergency response at 5.24pm on Sunday and re-opened it at 9.40pm.
A spokesperson for police yesterday said two people died at the scene of the crash.
The police Serious Crash Unit was advised of the crash and police inquiries were ongoing.
Raphael Franks is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. He joined the Herald as a Te Rito cadet in 2022.