Crashed car 'was racing two others'

Police have released the name of a young woman killed after a drag race  in Napier ended in a crash.

She was Maree Schafer, 18, of Napier.

The young woman died when the car she was a passenger in, left the seal on Awatoto Rd and struck a tree.

Police said the 18-year-old man driver lost control of his vehicle, careered through a stop sign and across an intersection before hitting the tree on the rural road about 11.40pm.

The driver, a 15-year-old male, and Schafer had to be cut from the wreck by the Fire Service. Schafer was pronounced dead at the scene.

A Hawke's Bay Hospital spokeswoman said the driver of the car was in a stable condition.

Rebecca Whaitiri, 18, laid a sunflower at the wreckage, paying respect to the close friend she had just lost.  The young women had attended Central Hawke's Bay College together.

Schafer was supposed to start a hairdressing course at Eastern Institute of Technology today. She was the oldest of six girls.

Whaitiri said her "happy smilely" friend would be missed. She broke down while talking about a "bright" character who was a keen photographer, and prominent member of the school choir.

Schafer's boyfriend was believed to be travelling in a following car.

Cory Ubels of the Hawke's Bay serious crash unit said the silver Holden Commodore that crashed had been racing a blue Ford Falcon. A third car was also involved. Police are still investigating the cause of the accident, but said speed was possibly a factor in the crash.

Ubels said there was evidence to suggest the road was often used as a drag strip.

"The road is covered in marks, where boy racers have had fun, you could say."

He appealed to passengers from the other cars to speak with police. He wanted to hear from anyone who may have witnessed the crash or seen the three cars racing around Napier.

Friends of the driver, said he was on his learner licence only. They knew him because he often joined the group that went out "cruising" on a Friday night. He had recently bought the Commodore with a V6 engine.

Car enthusiast Simon Connolly said it was easy to lose control on the dangerous intersection.

"You can't see this intersection because of the poor lighting. If you're speeding then you're in trouble," he said.

"If he was going full tit he wouldn't have seen it."

People with information should contact Napier police on 06 831 0700.


Whakatane police are investigating a fatal crash that occurred in Edgecumbe at about 10.50pm.

Police said details were still sketchy but it appeared as though the Subaru car they were travelling in failed to get around a right hand bend and then struck a tree.

The driver, a 19-year-old man, and front seat passenger, a 25-year-old man, both from Edgecumbe, died at the scene.

Police confirmed neither of them were wearing seatbelts, the driver was driving outside the rules of his licence, and speed was believed to be a factor.

It is not known whether the driver had a restricted or learner licence. Police were also working to establish whether alcohol may have been a factor.

Edgecumbe police were appealing for witnesses who may have seen the white coloured Subaru on Main Street immediately prior to the crash.

They should contact either the Edgecumbe police on 07 304 9004 or the Whakatane police on 07 308 5255.

The names of all those dead would not be released until next-of-kin had been informed.

Both crashes had been referred to the coroner.