Police name teens killed in double-fatal Hawke's Bay crash

FATAL CRASH: The Ford Econovan was seen being driven erratically before it crossed the centreline and smashed head-on into an oncoming car a bridge on State Highway 50 near Taradale.
NZPA
FATAL CRASH: The Ford Econovan was seen being driven erratically before it crossed the centreline and smashed head-on into an oncoming car a bridge on State Highway 50 near Taradale.

Police have named the two young men killed in a head-on crash on a Hawke's Bay bridge early today.

Max Harman, 19, and Robert Waikari, 17, died when they were thrown from a van that crossed the centreline and ploughed into an oncoming car on the bridge on State Highway 50 near Taradale.

Both teenagers lived in Hastings.

The van, driven by a 16-year-old girl whom police said had been drinking, carried seven people.

Both the victims and a young woman were catapulted from the van over the bridge sides into the Tutaekuri River 15m below.

The young men were found dead in the shallow water while the woman was found on the riverbank seriously hurt.

Police said a decision on what charges the driver would face would not be made for some time.

The van's occupants, all between 16 and 19, had been to a party before the 2am crash, eastern road policing manager Inspector Chris Wallace said.

A total of seven people were taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital.

A spokeswoman said that two, the 16-year-old who drove the vehicle, and an 18-year-old man had since been discharged.

An 18-year-old male passenger in the van was in a critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A 17-year-old female and a 17-year-old male were in a serious condition, and an 18-year-old male and a 17-year-old female were in a stable condition.

Commenting on the alcohol factor, Mr Wallace said: "This is a classic example of how youth, alcohol and driving make a lethal combination.

"This crash was avoidable and the result is that two young lives have been lost and several others are seriously injured. It's a tragedy that need not have happened."

The Serious Crash Unit is investigating.

NZPA