The Kiwi killed in a crash with French tourists at the weekend had recently found out his partner was pregnant with their first baby.

And his grieving mother wants to start a petition to hire Kiwi drivers for all foreign tourists.

Dee Olsen, of Paeroa, says she believed her only son Reece Growden-Olsen probably died instantly when the French tourists tried to overtake a tanker in foggy conditions at Netherton, just west of Paeroa, on Saturday night.

He and his partner, Pounamu King, had recently found out that she was pregnant with their first baby, due on December 6.


Olsen, who drives a school bus past the site of the accident every day, said she wanted to start a petition to ask Parliament to have all tourists met by Kiwi drivers at the airport.

Reece Growden was killed due to dangerous driving by a French tourist over the weekend. How many accidents/deaths do we allow tourists to cause ??

Posted by Cheryl Blake on Sunday, 18 June 2017

"When they come in there should be Kiwi drivers available at the airport to drive them around," she said.

"There are so many unemployed people that could do this job, that would mean there'd be people that would know our road rules, that would open up more jobs, because this is happening too much."

She said tourists should not be forced to use Kiwi drivers if they didn't want to, but at least they should be available.

Growden-Olsen, 25, worked for Stuie's Cars at Ngatea.

His mother said both she and her son had had traumatic lives. She and Growden-Olsen's father, the late Tony Growden, separated when Growden-Olsen was 2 and his father later died by his own hand in Australia.

"Reece saved me," Olsen said. "I was going down a really hard road. I was with a guy that would beat me. My partner tried to make me miscarry when I was five months pregnant. I ended up in a ball on the floor because I didn't want my boy hurt."

Growden-Olsen was brought up at first by his grandmother Joy Olsen. His uncle Brian Olsen helped to look after him.


"My little brother would take him places and do things with him," Olsen said.

But Brian Olsen was murdered, aged just 25, in August 2000 when Growden-Olsen was 8.

Growden-Olsen was taken into state care for about two years and lived for some time at Dingwall Trust in Auckland.

He then returned to his mother and attended Paeroa College, but suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

When he was 16 his leg was smashed in an accident when he was working on a rubbish truck.

"He spent years having operations on it, he had his leg rebuilt heaps of times," his mother said.

"He couldn't find his feet really until it came to cars, and then he loved his cars."

He loved "drifting" and was a member of the Low Down Car Club.

His Facebook page records that he had been engaged to Pounamu King since December 23, 2014. Olsen said they had been together about four years.

Reece Growden-Olsen died when his BMW and a car carrying French tourists collided on Saturday night. Photo / Facebook
Reece Growden-Olsen died when his BMW and a car carrying French tourists collided on Saturday night. Photo / Facebook

"Pounamu changed his life. That was the biggest thing in his life, was Pounamu," Dee said. "He loved her so much."

He was "so excited" when they found out she was pregnant.

"We were actually trying to arrange a wedding before she had the baby because he wanted them to get married before the baby was born."

Olsen said she had been overwhelmed by Facebook messages from people saying how he had helped them.

"Reece has been through so much stuff you wouldn't believe it. He stood solid for everybody," she said.

A police spokeswoman said specialists from the Serious Crash Unit were investigating the cause of the crash.

"We do know that there was heavy fog in the area at the time of the incident, but while the investigation is ongoing, we will not be speculating on the cause of the crash or whether this was a factor."

A Facebook post from friend James Wynyard said: "Only a couple hours before his accident we were talking about how excited he was that he was having his first child and typical boy talk about converting his Silvia into a drift car."

What was meant to be a fun weekend watching all the boys out drifting and having fun turned out to be 1 of my worse...

Posted by James Wynyard on Sunday, 18 June 2017

The accident came on the same day that the friends had attended the funeral of another mate Kyle Williams, who died when his car hit a horse at Taupiri on June 2.

"What was meant to be a fun weekend watching all the boys out drifting and having fun turned out to be 1 of my worse weekends ever," Wynyard wrote.

"Not only did we have to send off 1 of our good mates Kyle Williams on Saturday to find out 1 of my brothers Reece Growden has passed away in a terrible accident.

"I have known Reece since I was 3 years old. No matter what ever happened he was always there for me. We have so many good and funny memories together."

Wynyard offered a moving tribute: "Will defiantly never forget you my bro Reece. Fly high and smell all them tyres we will be burning for my bro. Love you always."

I still dont wana beleve it,words cant describe tha pain i feal at this tyme.. yu werent jus my bestmate yu were my...

Posted by Norton Jeffries on Sunday, 18 June 2017

Another mate, Norton Jeffries, posted: "I still dont wana beleve it, words cant describe tha pain i feal at this tyme. yu werent jus my bestmate yu were my brutha we went ta hell n bk tagetha an yet yu still managed ta b one of tha nicest people anyone kuld eva meet. yu were always thea for me wen i was at my worst. i duno wat wea all guna du withowt yu brutha.. R.I.P Reece Growden yu may b gone but will neva b forgotten.. luv yu my bro. Untill we meet agen."

Ironically Growden-Olsen's cousin Kenny Growden was first on the scene, as the accident happened only 10 metres outside his house on State Highway 2 at 7.40pm on Saturday.

He said his family was watching the rugby on television when they heard a "big bang" outside. He grabbed a torch and rushed out while his wife called 111.

He could see the BMW on fire in the middle of the road. He and a truck driver who had stopped approached the car but had to retreat because of the fire.

"It was just little bangs and things were flying off. People were screaming at me to get back away from it," he said.

"So we went backwards away from it pretty quick. That's when we looked over the ground rail and saw another car, a white car, down there."

Growden said he did not know until yesterday afternoon that the man in the BMW was his cousin.

"He was, hand on heart, I believe he was gone on impact," he said.

"So we jumped over to what was just a pile of people in the white car. There were no screams, only a couple of moans."

He could see that several people were trapped inside so he rushed back to his house to get a knife so he could cut them free.

He cut the seatbelt off one man and helped to lift him out of the car to sit on the bank. The man was conscious and suffered relatively minor injuries.

"Then we started working on the second guy. He passed out. Four of us lifted him up. There was another dude there who sat with that guy the whole time making sure he was alright.

"We went back into the car, but there was nothing we could do. There was a young fellow there from fire or ambulance, triaging, saying this guy is the priority, he needs to go out.

"He got inside the car and lifted them out. It was a real hard job for him."

Growden said the five people in the Toyota were all males aged around 25 to 35. The one who was able to speak was speaking French.

"They were speaking in French to me, not that I know French," he said.

"He spoke for a little bit. The other one must have been concussed, he didn't really know anything."

Growden said there was no sign of braking.

"Obviously someone crossed the centre line. There was no braking. Literally it was right outside my window 10 metres away."