Bob McPike was still in his blood-stained work shirt as he described the fiery car crash that claimed a young girl's life near the end of his driveway yesterday.
He had been working on his half-finished country house on Duck Rd west of Hamilton about 4.25pm when he heard "an almighty bloody bang".
A silver Mazda Lantis containing two males and two females, believed to be Hamilton teenagers, had lost control on a left-hand bend heading south and rolled 20 metres along a paddock fence.
It came to rest upright and the engine burst into flames.
"Straight away I ran down and they were all out," Mr McPike said, with the wreckage still smoking nearby.
"A girl was thrown from the vehicle and when I got there, she was . . . terrible.
But she was still breathing, and groaning softly.
"The guys on the road not involved in the accident were saying, 'get her away before [the car] blows', so I picked her up and took her out into the paddock."
He lay her down in the long grass about 10 metres from the fire which had engulfed the vehicle and spread down the roadside.
But by then she had stopped moving.
When emergency services arrived, he called a fireman to where she was lying.
"He got on the radio and said, 'there's one deceased'."
Two occupants received minor injuries in the crash.
Another young man was hospitalised with a leg injury but was in stable condition.
The death takes the Waikato district road toll to 40 - the country's highest.
It follows repeated pleas from police following a string of fatal crashes for people to keep speeds down, especially on rural roads.
The Serious Crash Unit is investigating the circumstances surrounding yesterday accident.
Sergeant Aaron Alderton, who was in charge of the scene, said the car was thought to be travelling at high speed.
He said they assumed one or more of the Mazda's occupants weren't wearing seatbelts because the dead girl was thrown from the vehicle.
Mr McPike said drivers regularly speed along Duck Rd and the Rotokauri area because it's rural and so close to Hamilton.
"There's a lot of hoons around."
But with two kids of his own he knew the crash could have been a non-event if it simply spun out or rolled into he field.
"But the minute it started bloody rolling, and no safety belts, it's like putting eggs inside a sardine can and giving it a shake."
His safety advice for all young drivers is to buckle up, because they will take risks and if they crash it's gives them a chance.
Yesterday's crash was the fourth fatal he'd witnessed.
Mr McPike recalled a head-on collision in Gordonton involving a woman and her husband, who had been driving and was seriously injured.
"She said to just talk to him and hang on to him.
"And he slowly died while I was hanging onto his head. It's not something you want to get used to bloody doing."
- © Fairfax NZ News