Crash driver died after family answered call

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 12:18 19/05/2014
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FAIRFAX NZ

FATAL END: A car partially submerged in a stream near Havelock North.

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FAIRFAX NZ
RECOVERY: A car is lifted from a stream by a crane following a fatal crash near Havelock North.

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Police have released the name of the man killed in a crash near Havelock North this morning.

He was Hina Kerei Johnson Hamahona.

Hamahona, 25, called family after crashing into a stream, but they were unable to save his life.

Hastings police were called to the intersection of Longlands and Te Aute Road, near Havelock North at 4.50am today.

Senior Sergeant Greg Brown said initial inquiries suggested Hamahona man had been travelling to work nearby when his vehicle left the road and crashed through an armco barrier that was protecting the approach to the bridge about 4.15am.

The vehicle became airborne and struck the opposite side of the bank, before rolling into the Karamu Stream.

"Police understand the male ... despite the heavy collision, survived the initial impact of the crash," Brown said.

"He has been able to contact his family advising them of the crash, and his father and another family member have tried to rescue him from the vehicle before contacting emergency services."

Police found the vehicle submerged in the stream with Hamahona trapped inside. He was the sole occupant and died at the scene.

Heavy lifting equipment had to be used to remove the vehicle from the stream, and the road was closed for about 5 hours.

Weather conditions were good at the time of the crash. The police serious crash unit would investigate the circumstances that led to the crash on behalf of the coroner.

Speed, distraction and alcohol would be a focus, as the crash occurred on a moderate bend and Hamahona was believed to be familiar with the road.

"This is obviously a tragedy for the family, and a really disappointing start of Road Safety Awareness Week. No-one should lose their life travelling to work, and police would encourage drivers in general to watch their speed, pull over safely to answer any cellphone call, and drive to the conditions", Brown said.

Drivers approaching the bridge from the western side (i.e. travelling toward Havelock North) would need to be extra careful until the barrier had been replaced, he said

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