27 Dec 2011

Information sought after fatal crash

1:35 pm on 27 December 2011

Police investigating the deaths of two teenage sisters in a road accident in Tauranga are calling for information from the public.

Two sisters died when the car they were travelling in collided with another vehicle in Welcome Bay, Tauranga, at about 4.20pm on Sunday.

Police say the girls were aged 13 and 14.

Four others were taken to hospital in a serious condition.

Tauranga police are seeking information on three vehicles seen on Tauranga's Welcome Bay Road on Sunday between 3.30pm and 4.30pm.

Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner says the police want to speak to anyone who saw a maroon Honda, a blue Honda or a black Mitsubishi Lancer.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transport says the holiday road toll currently stands at six, compared to two at the same time last year.

The ministry says the death of a man in Christchurch on Boxing Day is now not being counted as part of the toll.

The official holiday period began at 4pm on 23 December and ends at 6am on 4 January. Last year, there were 12 fatalities in the entire period.

Three deaths on Christmas Day

In a third Christmas Day fatality, a 52-year-old woman was struck by a vehicle in Waikato.

The woman was hit by a van on SH1 at Horotiu about 9.30pm on Sunday, suffering fatal injuries.

District road policing manager Inspector Leo Tooman said it appears the woman and a man left a family Christmas party and stopped their car on the side of the road.

Both got out of the car and it appears the woman strayed out onto the road and was hit by a courier van.

Mr Tooman said the van driver initially stopped at the scene but when confronted by angry relatives of the deceased fled a short distance for his own safety.

He said alcohol and speed were not factors on the part of the courier van driver.

"This crash is undoubtedly a tragedy for the family of the deceased ... and is also traumatic for the innocent party driving the courier van."

Three people were killed in crashes on Saturday near Geraldine in South Canterbury, in Christchurch and in Taranaki.

Police have named the driver who died in Christchurch on Saturday as Daniel James Mercer, who was 20. His car lost control and went into the Avon River.

Police target seat belt, cellphone use

Police say motorists will be in officers' sights this summer if they are using a cellphone, not wearing a seat belt, or if they cross the centre line.

In the last decade there have been 10 deaths and more than 400 people injured on Boxing Day - one of the heaviest traffic days of the year.

National manager of road policing Superintendent Paula Rose says 96% of those in front seats wear seat belts but the aim is to have everyone use seat belts.

She says about 30 people who died in crashes last year were not wearing seat belts.