Napier car crash kills young woman

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 14:34 20/02/2013

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Police have released the name of a young woman killed after a drag race ended in a fatal crash.

She was Maree Schafer, 18, of Napier.

Miss Schafer died when the car she was a passenger in, left Awatoto Rd road and struck a tree.

Police said the 18-year-old male driver lost control of his vehicle, careered through a stop sign and across an intersection before hitting a tree on the rural Napier road about 11.40pm.

The driver, a 15-year-old male and Miss Schafer had to be cut from the wreck by the fire service. Miss Schafer was pronounced dead at the scene.

A Hawke's Bay Hospital spokeswoman said the driver of the car was in a stable condition while the 15-year-old was in a serious but stable condition.

Rebecca Whaitiri, 18, laid a sunflower at the wreckage, paying respect to the close friend she had just lost.  The young women had attended Central Hawke's Bay College together.

Miss Schafer was supposed to start a hairdressing course at Eastern Institute of Technology today. She was the oldest of six girls.

Miss Whaitiri said her "happy smiley" friend would be missed by her many friends. She broke down while talking about a "bright" character who was a keen photographer, and prominent member of the school choir.

Miss Schafer's boyfriend was believed to be travelling in a following car.

Cory Ubels of the Hawke's Bay serious crash unit, said the silver Holden Commodore that crashed had been racing a blue Ford Falcon. A third car was also involved. Police are still investigating the cause of the accident, but said speed was possibly a factor in the crash.

Mr Ubels said there was evidence to suggest the road was often used as a drag strip.

"The road is covered in marks, where boy racers have had fun, you could say."

He appealed to passengers from the other cars to speak with police. He wanted to hear from anyone who may have witnessed the crash or seen the three cars racing around Napier.

Friends of the driver, said he was on his learner licence. They knew him because he often joined the group that went out “cruising” on a Friday night. He had recently bought the Commodore with a V6 engine.

Car enthusiast Simon Connolly said it was easy to lose control on the dangerous intersection.

“You can’t see this intersection because of the poor lighting. If you’re speeding then you’re in trouble,” he said.

“If he was going full tit he wouldn’t have seen it.”

People with information should contact Napier Police on 06 831 0700.

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- The Dominion Post

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