CHRISTCHURCH - Broken glass, beer bottles, and empty alcohol cartons today marked the scene of a party in Christchurch where two teenagers were killed and eight others injured last night.
Police had already been called to the unruly party when a car ploughed at speed into a group of young people milling around outside a house in Edgeware Rd, St Albans, about 10.45pm, killing two 16-year-old women.
Eight others were admitted to Christchurch Hospital last night with injuries ranging from relatively minor to serious, police said today.
Neighbours said a car sped down Edgeware Rd towards the crowd of young people, hitting bystanders over a 50m distance.
"The bodies flew higher than our six-foot fence," next door neighbour Jason Barlow said.
"It was like guns going off when he was hitting them. It was unbelievable. And then it sped off, it just kept going."
Police maintained a large cordon on Edgeware Rd, between Sherbourne St and Bishop St, this morning as officers in white overalls scoured the scene for forensic evidence and spoke to residents.
Police were interviewing the driver of a red Honda Integra believed to have driven into the crowd of young people.
Several hundred people were understood to have been at the party, with some residents estimating the gathering at up to 500.
The 20-something tenants of the house told neighbours they invited only 25 people to the party but hundreds of uninvited guests turned up as texting spread the word that a party was on.
A neighbour who spoke on condition his name was not published said the party was "huge".
"There were young people all over the place in various states of intoxication," the man said.
He understood the party was for a person celebrating their 20th birthday and signs advertising it had been placed outside the house earlier in the day.
Jason Barlow said the house often had large parties with loud noise but "tonight it wasn't the music. It was the screaming and yelling" after the car hit that reverberated around the neighbourhood.
"I was waiting for it," said Barlow, who had been watching the unruly party out of his window. "I'd been waiting for something to happen all night. Then I heard a car come screaming its nuts off coming down the road and then bang."
Eyewitness Clayton Jamison had parked a short distance from the party after visiting the nearby BP service station and was texting a friend.
He looked up and saw a car driving toward him on the wrong side of the road, missing his car by less than a foot.
"You could see people just getting mowed down. He was going like the clappers. He revved up and away he went."
He said the car veered across the road and aimed for a group of people and believed there were three people in the vehicle.
"I saw four people go over the roof of the car and that's not counting how many he actually went over the top of. I reckon he hit 20 people. They were just bouncing off the car."
James Nathan, who was at the party, said: "It swerved into a whole lot of people and people just went flying.
It was going about 70km an hour."
A large police cordon was thrown up around Edgeware and Sherborne streets. Broken bottles and other wreckage was strewn for blocks around the accident scene.
A woman working at the BP petrol station said several young people came running into the station at about 11.15pm yelling for police to hurry as there had been a huge accident.
"It was a massive party, all young people," the woman told the Herald on Sunday last night.
Detective Sergeant David Harvey, of Christchurch CIB, said the police investigation was centred on the Honda Integra and the driver was being interviewed.
The names of the two dead teenagers were unavailable.
Mr Harvey said he hoped to be able to release their names later today when family had been advised.
He said he understood all eight injured in the incident were still in hospital.
- NZPA, HERALD ON SUNDAY