5 Apr 2010

Baby's death pushes Easter road toll to 9

10:33 pm on 5 April 2010

The Easter holiday road toll has risen to nine after the death of a baby, and two double fatalities within hours of each other.

The total has not been exceeded since 1994.

A baby died in Starship Hospital in Auckland on Sunday, after being in a collision in the Bay of Plenty at 7.20pm the previous day.

Police say two cars collided at an intersection of State Highway 34 at Putauaki, near Kawerau, causing one of the vehicles to smash into a nearby power pole. One of the cars caught fire, trapping its occupant, who died.

A couple and the baby were in the other car, and the man and woman suffered injuries.

Double fatalities

A motorcyclist and his pillion passenger died after a crash with a car on State Highway 1 in the Dome Valley area just north of Warkworth about 7.30pm on Sunday.

Two hours earlier, a man and a woman died in a crash involving two cars and a truck, south of the summit on the Desert Road in the central North Island.

Police say the crash, at 5.30pm, occurred when one of the cars tried to overtake a truck, colliding head-on with another vehicle. Three other people were taken to hospital.

Earlier fatalities

A man died on Saturday when his car rolled into a drain near the town of Ahipara. Northland police say there were no other vehicles involved.

On Good Friday morning, a driver died when his car and a truck collided at Taupiri, north of Hamilton.

Earlier on Friday morning, James Victor Robinson, 18, of Morrinsville, died when his car crashed into a bank in a paddock in the Waikato town of Waharoa.

There were seven road deaths over Easter last year, including two motorcyclists.

The Easter holiday period began at 4pm on Thursday and ends at 6am on Tuesday.

Serious crashes

At least four serious crashes occurred on Monday.

Eight people are in hospital following a crash at Garston in northern Southland, which police say was probably caused by speed.

They say a van carrying eight Indian tourists failed to take a bend and careered down a bank, hitting trees, at 11am on Monday.

Six people were flung from the vehicle, including four children. Three of the occupants suffered serious injuries.

Police say it's a harsh reminder to people to wear seat belts and to properly restrain children.

A woman is in a critical condition after a crash in central Hawke's Bay; and another woman is in a serious condition after a crash on State Highway 6 in the upper Buller Gorge.

One person was seriously injured after two cars crashed under a motorway overbridge about 7.15pm on Great North Road, under the Waterview motorway overbridge.

Roads congested

Highways in the North Island were congested into Monday evening as people headed for home.

Holiday-makers return journeys clogged up major roads in Waikato, north of Wellington and north of Auckland.

In the afternoon and evening there were delays for motorists heading south to Auckland on State Highway 1. At one point traffic was backed up four kilometres at Warkworth.

In Waikato, heavy traffic also made for slow going on State Highway 2 at Mangatawhiri and Maramarua, and also on State Highway 25 at the Kopu Bridge.

Further south, traffic on State Highway 1 between Otaki and Levin was reduced to a crawl.