Sixteen hours of road carnage sees four dead and eight injured

Girlfriend grieves over teen killed: 'It doesn't feel real ... I will love you forever'

Crowds of out-of-control partygoers were stunned into silence when an 18-year-old's car plunged over the edge of a bank in Oropi as he fled police on Friday night.

Levi Green's death occurred during a horror 16 hours on New Zealand roads that claimed three other lives and has left eight people seriously injured.

His girlfriend Tahlia Mellor did not want to speak to the Herald on Sunday, but shared her grief on Facebook yesterday.

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"Sitting here not even knowing what to write. It still doesn't feel real, it never does. I love you for ever & ever. Forever in my heart you will be my darling. Rest easy Levi Green."

A tribute at Oropi, south of Tauranga. Photo / Andrew Warner
A tribute at Oropi, south of Tauranga. Photo / Andrew Warner

On Friday night, police were called to a birthday party at Oropi, near Tauranga, where about 150 people had gathered.

Police said about a dozen people had gatecrashed and a fight broke out. One person was struck by a car and two people fled to a neighbouring property "fearing for their lives".

Police had spotted Green driving along Mountain Rd with a broken tail light and signalled for him to pull over, but he had sped off and within seconds disappeared over a bank.

Green was thrown clear of the wreckage and died on the way to Tauranga Hospital. He was described as a "good boy" who had a fascination with cars. "We loved him, he's a good boy who just loves his cars ... he was such a lovely young man," said a family friend. Police said the serious crash unit was investigating alongside a police inquiry into events before the tragedy.

'I still think of the kid's face': St John's volunteer

Green's death came 10 hours after an Auckland family holidaying in the South Island were involved in a crash near Timaru, killing a young girl and injuring five others. Tim Nally, a former St John's volunteer who was among the first on the scene, said when he arrived, the male driver of one of the cars was unconscious.

The child and her sister were trapped in child restraints and there "was blood everywhere".

"I ran back to the house and grabbed a knife [to cut through the seatbelts]," Nally said.

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After removing the child from the wreckage, he said: "I closed her eyes and put a blanket over her.

"I still think of the kid's face ... picturing her. I can't get rid of her look unless I close my eyes."

The child's sister and father were last night fighting for their lives.

The child's mother suffered serious injuries. Three people in another car in the smash were also injured.

The Timaru crash scene was just past a stretch of the road where the speed limit dropped from 100km/h to 70km/h.

Nally said he wanted to launch a campaign with Land Transport officials and politicians to have the speed limit reduced further, and planned to erect a sign stating "This corner kills" near his property.

Two dead; two seriously injured

The carnage continued early Saturday when two women died on State Highway 22 near Karaka. That crash also left two people fighting for their lives.

Firefighters used hydraulic cutting gear to remove the roofs of both vehicles to reach the dead women and the injured men.

Police said three Chinese nationals were in one car and had only recently arrived in New Zealand.

Ministry of Transport figures show to the end of February, 55 people had died on New Zealand roads - 14 more than the same time last year.

A 2014 ministry report on overseas drivers also shows the percentage of crashes involving overseas licenceholders has almost doubled over the last two decades.

Last month, American tourist Richard Barnett admitted guilt for a crash in which his wife and two close friends were killed.

Barnett was driving a rented SUV when it collided with a truck south of Hamilton. He was banned from driving in New Zealand for 12 months and ordered to pay $1500 for emotional harm to the driver of the truck.

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