A teenage driver killed in a head-on crash in Tararua was the second member of his family to die in a car wreck in the past two months.
Cheyenne Ihaka, 16, of Eketahuna, was killed when the vehicle he was driving, a Ford Falcon, collided with a Mazda on State Highway 2, Mangamutu, 5 kilometres south of Pahiatua township, about 11.35pm on Wednesday.
Sergeant Glenn Ryan said the south-bound Ford driven by Cheyenne Ihaka crossed the centre line, smashing head-on into the north-bound Mazda.
Cheyenne, 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.
The 37-year-old female driver of the Mazda is in a stable condition in intensive care after suffering lower leg and abdominal injuries.
A 17-year-old male passenger of the Ford is also a stable condition, having suffered leg and neck injuries.
Both remained in Palmerston North Hospital last night.
Cheyenne's father, Adrian "AJ" James Ihaka, 36, died when the car he was driving crashed into a power pole at the corner of Herbert St and Alfredton Rd, Eketahuna, on May 31.
Adrian Ihaka had been celebrating at the Eketahuna Rugby Club's 125th anniversary over the Queen's Birthday long weekend and crashed into the pole just 600 metres down the road.
A police spokeswoman said officers were continuing to speak to witnesses to piece together the events leading up to the latest crash.
Friends of the teenager took to his Facebook page to post messages of shock and disbelief that he was gone, telling him to "fly high with dad".
"Rest easy, won't forget all our fun times as wee kiddies. You've left a hole in the hearts of the people who knew you. Keep an eye on the rest of the fam from up there," wrote Ginni Rose Ramsay.
And from Charleey TeAroha MacDonalld: "Woah hard to believe, you [were] messaging me just the other day. Rest easy man."
Cheyenne Ihaka's death has been referred to the coroner.
- Manawatu Standard