1 Nov 2009

Three teens still in hospital after fatal Napier crash

5:05 pm on 1 November 2009

Three of the five teenagers who survived a fatal head on collision in Hawke's Bay have now been discharged from hospital.

Max Harman, 19, and Robert Waikari, 17, were killed when a van carrying seven teenagers collided with a car on the Tutaekuri River bridge on State Highway 50 shortly before 2am on Saturday. They were flung from the van into the river.

A 17-year-old youth remains in Hawke's Bay Hospital in a stable condition and an 18-year-old is still in a critical condition in Wellington Hospital's Intensive Care Unit.

Police say there were seven people in the van, three of whom were thrown over the side of the bridge on impact and into the river 15 metres below.

The 16-year-old girl who was driving the van managed to get to shore, but the young men died at the scene.

Alcohol a factor, say police

Napier police say alcohol was a factor in the deaths. They say the driver had been drinking alcohol, but it is not yet known what charges she will face.

Inspector Chris Wallace says the seven people in the van were all aged between 16 and 19, and it is believed they were returning home from a party.

Before the crash, the van was seen being driven erratically along the road.

Mr Wallace says it is an absolute tragedy that highlights the dangers of young people drinking and driving.