Maniototo mourns its young achiever

The Maniototo community is mourning the loss of the 20-year-old sportsman, artist and young achiever who died at the scene of a car accident late on Monday night.

Cobie Levi Detroit Stringer died and three others were injured after the Subaru car they were travelling in rolled on the Ranfurly-Patearoa Rd, 12km east of Ranfurly, after the driver failed to take a moderate left-hand bend about 11.40pm.

The Central Otago sub area supervisor, Senior Sergeant Ian Kerrisk, said Mr Stringer, a passenger in the car, was thrown from it as it rolled.

A car travelling behind the group raised the alarm after arriving at the scene and pulled the driver and two other passengers out of the wreckage.

The injured were taken by ambulance to the Ranfurly Medical Centre to be treated for minor to moderate injuries and then transferred to Dunedin Hospital for overnight observation.

In 2008 Mr Stringer was honoured as a young Maori achiever at the Mana Pounamu Young Achievers Awards and received a scholarship to study art at Otago Polytechnic.

He was also a former head boy at the Maniototo Area School and a keen sportsman.

Yesterday his brother Jay said Cobie had a passion for shearing, Maori carving and art. After attending Otago Polytechnic for a year he returned to the area to follow in his family's footsteps and started a shearing apprenticeship.

His mother, Wendy, said "he was a darling soul, he loved life and life loved him".

Cobie was the third youngest in a large family and is survived by 12 brothers and sisters.

Family members arrived at the scene after the crash to bless the site and another ceremony was expected to be held at the site today.

Mr Kerrisk said weather conditions were clear at the time of the accident and early indicators, made by serious crash unit investigators, were that speed and alcohol may have been involved.

"Unfortunately this is yet another crash on a rural road which involves speed and possibly alcohol.

"The loss of this young man will have a huge effect on both Ranfurly and the wider Maniototo community as the Stringer family are a very well-known local Ranfurly family," Mr Kerrisk said.

It was believed the black Subaru sedan travelled from Ranfurly to Patearoa about 8pm and police were seeking any sightings of it in the Ranfurly or Patearoa area on Monday night.

The Southland Times