A Pahiatua youth driving without a licence has died after the car he was driving crashed into a bank at Mt Bruce yesterday morning.

The 17-year-old had serious injuries and died in the ambulance before he could be taken to Wairarapa Hospital.

Life Flight's Westpac rescue helicopter had also been called in but was stood down.

Senior Sergeant Carolyn Watson said it was too early to determine the cause of the crash but alcohol use was suspected.


She said police had encountered the boy driving without a licence in a past incident and had forbidden him from driving until he obtained a licence. There were no other vehicles involved in the accident.

The teenager was travelling south on SH2 and crashed into the bank about 200m from the summit just before 9am. "He appears to have crossed the centre line and hit a bank on the other side," said Ms Watson. She said the vehicle may have rolled.

There were no witnesses to the accident, but passing vehicles saw the vehicle on the side of the road and called emergency services.

Masterton Fire station officer Doug Flowerday said when fire crews arrived, the vehicle was upright on its wheels against the bank. He said they did not have to cut the vehicle open as the teen was already being tended to by paramedics in an ambulance.

The road between Masterton and Eketahuna was closed for several hours from about 9 am to 2pm while the police serious crash unit investigated. Road blocks were put up on SH2 at Paierau Rd and by Opaki Kaiparoro Rd. Traffic travelling north was directed up Opaki Kaiparoro Rd towards Mauriceville. Ms Watson said police were confirming the teen's identity and notifying his family. His name may be released to the public today, she said. Once the serious crash unit finishes its investigation, the exact cause of the crash will be confirmed.

The accident comes two weeks after a fatal car collision on Paierau Rd where 23-year-old Shannon Buick died and her 16-year-old sister Kaitlin was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Miss Buick was killed after the car she was driving collided head-on with another vehicle driven by a 24-year-old male driver, who received moderate injuries.

In May, another 17-year-old, Tyler Swinbank, was killed car crash on Kahutara Rd, near Featherston. He was the passenger in a car, which hit a power pole in the early hours of the morning.