Police fear a dangerous cocktail of youth, alcohol and poor decision making may have been major contributors to a serious crash on State Highway 16 south of Wellsford on Friday night.
They say a group of seven students aged between 15 to 17 years packed into a 1997 Toyota Corolla at about 11pm to head home after drinking in a reserve off the main road.
The car was designed for only five people and two of the passengers sat in the boot of the hatchback vehicle, he says.
The vehicle later crashed into a ditch and rolled onto its roof.
The two teenagers who were sitting in the boot were both thrown from the car and suffered life-threatening injuries, police say.
They were flown by rescue helicopter to hospital and remain in critical condition. Three other occupants suffered broken bones during the crash.
Waitemata road policing manager Inspector Mark Fergus says the journey was doomed from the start.
"Every teenager that got into that car made their own decision. Any one of them could have stopped the chain of events that led to their friends being left with life-changing injuries.
"Any car ride where two passengers have to ride unrestrained in the boot should set off alarm bells."
The Waitemata Serious Crash unit is investigating the incident.
"It is too early to say whether charges will be laid, " Mr Fergus says.
- Rodney Times
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