Taumarunui driver dies not far from home

BEN HEATHER
Last updated 05:00 27/12/2012

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A Taumarunui man was killed yesterday when his car veered off State Highway 4 north of the town, taking the holiday road toll to three.

His was the second death yesterday - earlier, a 24-year-old man died when his car left the road and ploughed into a paddock on the Lorneville-Dacre Rd, near Invercargill.

The 58-year-old Taumarunui victim was already dead when police arrived at the crash site, 5 kilometres from the town, and was not far from his home.

The first death of the holiday period was on Christmas Eve, when a 71-year-old woman was killed in a hit-and-run crash at a busy Hamilton intersection.

The toll was six at the end of Boxing Day last year.

The official holiday road toll period began at 4pm on Christmas Eve and ends at 6am on January 3.

In an accident near Marton early yesterday, a 19-year-old had to be cut free from his destroyed car, after it and a milk tanker collided head-on. His leg was trapped and it took emergency services 25 minutes to free him.

The driver was in a critical condition in Whanganui Hospital last night.

The tanker, operated by Dairy Fresh Logistics, careered off the road, spilling 11,000 litres of milk into a paddock.

Managing director Nick Walker said the tanker driver was shaken but otherwise unhurt.

"He had a sore elbow, but not even cuts or bruises. That seatbelt saved his life."

It is the second serious early morning crash in a row, following a crash involving two Wairarapa teenagers whose car went over a 20-metre bank near Carterton on Christmas Day.

The driver was flown by the Westpac rescue helicopter to Wellington Hospital with critical injuries, and has since been transferred to Christchurch, where he remains in intensive care.

Police national road manager Superintendent Carey Griffiths said the focus during the holiday period was on drink-driving, distraction and fatigue.

"The message is simple: stick to the speed limit, stay off the booze and make sure you get enough rest before heading away on your holiday to ensure a safe trip."

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- The Dominion Post

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