Unlicensed driver in Masterton fatal crash was a boy aged 14 or 15
Two boys too young to hold driving licences died after the speeding stolen car they were in crashed following a police pursuit in Masterton early on Sunday.
About 2.15am on Sunday, a police patrol in Masterton attempted to pull over the driver of a stolen Honda Civic at the southern end of Queen St, in Masterton's main shopping precinct.
The driver's response to seeing the red and blue lights was to immediately speed north down Queen St, Detective Senior Sergeant Barry Bysouth said at a press conference in Masterton on Sunday afternoon.
"Within a matter of seconds, and recognising that the driver would continue to drive in this manner and would not stop for police, my officers disengaged the pursuit and pulled over."
Security camera footage showed sparks flying from under the car as it got airborne, then landed while speeding over a series of Queen St speed bumps, Bysouth said.
It did not slow for any of the speed bumps.
Police saw the car lose control on one of the bumps and crash into a light pole near the intersection of Queen St with Lincoln Rd, about one kilometre from where police stopped the pursuit, and only about 200m from the town's police station.
All the car's four occupants, who were Wairarapa boys aged 14 and 15, were taken to Masterton Hospital. Two died as a result of their injuries and two had serious injuries.
The boys who died have been widely identified online as Hoani Korewha and Pacer Willacy-Scott.
Pacer's father said on Sunday night he was too upset to talk. Pacer's grandmother said the entire family was "absolutely devastated", and declined to say more.
Maxine Hemi, who is involved with a basketball team with which Hoani was connected, posted on Facebook that the team's Monday night game was cancelled.
"All those who want to come to Featherston to support our Featherston players paying respects to Hoani Korewha's whanau, please meet at the gym ... Hoani will only be home one night before his final journey back to Kaitaia."
A Wellington district serious crash investigator has attended the scene of the crash and investigations are continuing.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority had been informed of the fatal crash, which was required if a police pursuit was involved.
The deaths came about two hours after another car, also believed to be stolen, destroyed a power pole in another part of Masterton.
It crashed at speed in Millard St, outside the home of retiree Ray Wilson, who said cars often sped up and down the street.
A police dog handler was trying to track the cars occupants, who ran off after the crash about 11.30pm, he said.
"They put the foot down, right down ... they think it's funny, speeding, but it's not safe."
But Bysouth said there was unlikely to be any link between the two accidents.
"Boy racers" doing burnouts and racing are not uncommon in Masterton streets, and a 14-year-old boy was caught drink driving at a police roadblock in December.
But Bysouth said it was unusual for teens to joyride in stolen cars.
It was not yet clear who had been driving.
He said recordings of police radio communications, as well as security camera footage, clearly showed the stolen car was not being pursued as it entered the section of Queen St with speed bumps.
Footage seen by Stuff shows the Honda Civic pass into that stretch at what looks like an elevated speed, then the police car follow slowly a considerable time later, with its red and blue lights switched off.
One of the first people on the scene of the fatal crash was Wairarapa Services and Citizens Club duty manager and freelance photographer Phil Brazier, who arrived about 15 minutes after the crash on his way home from work.
A block at the northern end of Queen St, had been cordoned off and ambulance paramedics and firefighters were working to free the teens from the car.
Brazier took some photos, taking care to stay at a respectful distance, and spoke to a police officer, who told him what had happened.
Despite the busy emergency workers and flashing lights, and although several pubs near the scene had just closed, Brazier was struck by an "eerie silence" in the normally busy street.
His thoughts were with the teens' families.
Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said Wairarapa was a small community so everyone would probably know one or more of the victims.
"It's a real tragedy that the Wairarapa has lost two young people. My condolences to the two young people's families."
A week ago an Auckland teen was killed after an early-morning police pursuit in the suburb of Mangere.
Eden Nathan, 16, died in when a suspected stolen car she was travelling in crashed. The alleged driver of the stolen car, a 15-year-old girl, was critically injured and remains in a coma.