Dead teen's father died in recent crash

CALEB HARRIS
Last updated 10:51 25/07/2014

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The 16-year-old killed in a fatal crash on Wednesday lost his father in a car accident less than two months ago.

Cheyenne Ihaka, 16, of Eketahuna, was killed when the vehicle he was driving, a Ford Falcon, collided head-on with a Mazda on State Highway 2, 5km south of Pahiatua on Wednesday night.

The 37-year-old female driver of the Mazda and 17-year-old male passenger of the Ford are both in Palmerston North Hospital.

Cheyenne's father was AJ Ihaka, 36, who died in Eketahuna on June 1 when he crashed into a power pole close to his home after a rugby club party.

That evening Cheyenne changed his Facebook page cover photo to one featuring his dad and thanked friends and family for their condolences; but last night his page was filled with distressed messages from the same people, stunned to have lost a second loved one.

One message said: "Rest easy, gonna miss your cheekiness, fly high and say hay to your dad eh?"

His aunt, Michelle Ihaka, posted a photo of Cheyenne and wrote: "Just shows how unfair life can be. Now with his papa AJ, at only 16 years old. Just ain't right."

Another message said he would also be with his "Aunty Kim"; at the time of AJ Ihaka's death his mother, Liz Corlett, Cheyenne's grandmother, said the loss of her only son had been especially hard after the killing of her daughter, Kim, by Kim's partner in the late 1990s.

Another of Cheyenne's aunts, Mandie Ihaka, said the family were in shock but did not want to comment further.

Her nephew's passenger was not a relative.

Sergeant Glenn Ryan said the southbound Ford driven by Cheyenne crossed the centre line at about 11.35pm, smashing head- on into the northbound Mazda.

Ihaka, an unlicensed driver, died at the scene.

Preliminary examinations indicated driver inexperience, alcohol, and the condition of the Ford were contributing factors, Ryan said.

The vehicle was neither registered nor warranted.

A police spokeswoman said officers were continuing to speak to witnesses to piece together the events leading up to the crash.

Ihaka's death has been referred to the coroner.

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- The Dominion Post

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