Road toll appals police

CRASH SITE: The scene of a serious motorbike crash on State Highway 1 at the weekend.
CRASH SITE: The scene of a serious motorbike crash on State Highway 1 at the weekend.

A young Matamata man who died in a fatal car crash at the weekend will be remembered by his family as fun, loving and someone who enjoyed life.

Jeremy Mark Kidner, 23, died after the Toyota Hilux he was driving crashed into a truck just before 1am on Saturday, on State Highway 24, near Matamata.

Police said initial indications suggested Kidner failed to negotiate a corner and crossed the centreline into the path of an eastbound Kenworth truck and trailer unit.

His mother and sisters told the Waikato Times Kidner was fun, loving and enjoyed life.

He was cheeky and quick-witted but also stubborn and persistent.

"He was well thought of by a huge amount of people and an inspiration to all around him," they said.

"He loved everybody and rarely had bad moments with anyone. He loved meeting new people and expanding his friend circle."

He had only been back in New Zealand for two weeks after a stint working in Australia but he had already got himself into work mowing lawns and with a roading contractor.

Past jobs had included being a diesel mechanic, farming work, and picking and distributing salad in Australia.

But he also kept busy with a variety of pastimes including cars, several different sports, and youth group, and "put his all" into everything he did, they said.

He had also been a volunteer firefighter before he went over to Australia and had intended to join up again.

Kidner's death has prompted Waikato police to call for a change in road culture.

A pedestrian struck by a car in Karapiro 11 days ago, also died yesterday, bringing Waikato's road toll this year to 12.

Waikato road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace said several other people are recovering from serious injuries after 36 crashes in the area between Friday and Monday morning.

Grace said police would investigate what, if any part, speed and alcohol played in the crash which claimed the life of Kidner.

Police were also considering the details surrounding the pedestrian who died from his injuries when he was struck by a car as he crossed State Highway 1 at Karapiro 10 days ago.

"Auckland man 88-year-old Roy James Grant had been under treatment at Waikato Hospital since the incident but died early [Monday] morning. The Serious Crash Unit investigation into what, if any, charges may be laid is still continuing."

Grace said in another incident, a 79-year-old man was critically injured when struck by a reversing car on Shakespeare St in Leamington early on Friday evening.

Two people on a motorcycle were also treated in hospital after a separate crash with a car on Hoeka Rd, Newstead on Friday.

"Then shortly after 9am on Sunday emergency services were called to the scene of a crash on SH1 north of Huntly where a motorcycle carrying two people crashed into a roadside barrier near the Rangiriri tavern.

"A 52-year-old Huntly man and his female pillion passenger were flown by air ambulance helicopter in a serious condition to Waikato Hospital where their condition is described as stable.

"At this point police are working to establish what part an item of material found wrapped around the motorcycle's rear wheel may have played in the crash."

Grace said there were no witnesses to the crash at the scene and police are appealing for anyone who saw what happened to contact the Huntly police on (07) 858 6200.

"While the investigations into what happened in each of the crashes continue, we as a community need to focus on preventing more trauma happening on our roads.

"Late February through to early April are traditionally busy periods for emergency services dealing with motorcycle and commercial vehicle crashes and it appears this year is no different. And now we have had our second pedestrian fatality and have another person seriously injured."

Grace said the only way to turn the tide was to introduce a change in culture.

"We need to drive socially, give each other plenty of room on the road and ensure other road users are able to see you, regardless of if you are a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcycle rider or driver. The stakes for those left behind are just too great if you don't." 

Waikato Times