Alcohol may have been a factor in a crash in Christchurch this morning, where a driver lost control and hit a tree.
The 20-year-old male driver was today in a critical condition in hospital. His 14-year-old female front seat passenger was seriously injured, while two 17-year-old men in the back seat suffered moderate to serious injuries after the crash on Linwood Ave about 5am.
Senior Sergeant Phil Newton said police were unsure why the car left the road.
Speed did not appear to be a factor, but alcohol was a possibility, he said.
"We should be able to tell if alcohol was a factor later down the track."
Acting Sergeant Rob Small said the Toyota Celica was travelling east on Linwood Ave, near the Dyers Rd intersection, when the driver lost control.
Small did not know the relationship between the four people in the car, who were headed to the home of one of the occupants.
It was day break and conditions were calm and dry.
The car was extensively damaged, particularly at the front where it hit the tree.
Fire fighters cut the roof off the vehicle to get access to the occupants.
There were skid marks where the car slid off the road.
"By the time it was running off the road, it was out of control," Small said.
Small believed everyone in the car wore seatbelts.
A Christchurch Hospital spokeswoman said the 20-year-old driver was in a critical condition in the intensive care unit.
The serious crash unit is investigating. The car has been removed from the scene.
Newton said 48 people had been killed on Canterbury roads this year, where this time last year the road toll was at 32.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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