Call for safe driving preceded crash

The day before a 20-year-old Hunterville woman died in a car crash, she posted a plea on Facebook for others to drive safely and soberly over the summer break.

Keryn Swainson, from Hunterville, died after the car she was driving crashed through a bridge guard rail in Turakina Valley Rd and plunged into the Turakina River on Wednesday evening.

Emergency services were called to the site near Otairi, 15 kilometres north west of Hunterville, about 9.15pm, but Ms Swainson was unable to escape the submerged vehicle and died at the scene.

A police spokeswoman said it appeared Ms Swainson failed to take a right-hand bend and crashed into protective roadside fencing metres before a one-lane bridge.

Her car dropped down the bank and ended up in the river.

She was the sole occupant and there were no other vehicles involved.

Crash debris, including a hub cap, could be seen floating near the bank of the river yesterday.

The Palmerston North rescue helicopter, the Whanganui police and fire services, as well as the police national dive squad from Wellington all attended the crash scene.

Helicopter pilot Lance Burns said rescuers inspected the river with the helicopter's searchlight and by using night-vision goggles.

The day before her death, Ms Swainson posted on Facebook a graphic picture of a blood-covered woman lying on the bonnet of a car, having been hit by a drunk driver.

It accompanied the account of an American reporter who saw the accident and took note of the woman's words as she lay dying.

The post urged people to be responsible on the roads, not to drink and drive and think of the lives of others.

The serious crash unit was investigating and Ms Swainson's death had been referred to the coroner.

Manawatu Standard