Timaru tragedy: Memorial event planned for crash teens, attendees to bring ‘loudest cars’ but ‘drive safely’

Timaru teens are planning a car meet up memorial event for the five youths killed in a crash at the weekend.

Attendees have been told to bring their “loudest” cars – but to be safe.

Niko William Hill, 15, Javarney Wayne Drummond, 15,Jack “Jacko” Graeme Wallace, 16, Andrew George Goodger, 15, and Joseff “Joey” Alan James McCarthy, 16, died just after 7.30pm on Saturday at Washdyke just out of Timaru.

The car they were passengers in struck a power pole and tore in half.

The 19-year-old driver was the only survivor of the horrendous crash.

The Herald has chosen not to publish his name at this stage.

He took to social media yesterday to apologise to the families of the dead.

One of the passengers was found dead in the boot and police said most were not wearing seatbelts.

They said speed, alcohol and overcrowding were factors in the crash.

They have not ruled out cellphone use, and said it was likely the driver did not have a full licence given his age.

Tributes for all five boys are being shared today as their family, friends and community start to come to terms with the tragedy.

Information on the boys’ funerals is yet to be released.

But their mates have planned a memorial event for the weekend.

A post is being widely shared on social media about the memorial, set to start at 6.30pm on Friday.

“In memory of all the men we lost last night we are holding a car meet up – bring your loudest cars or any car and let’s all show them how much we miss them,” the post says.

“We would love it if you came but please remember to drive safely and wear seatbelts.

“Feel free to tear up the road as much as you want but make sure that no one gets hurt.”

At 8pm people at the memorial will be invited to pay tribute to the boys out of their cars.

“We will all form a line across the road all holding hands while we sing a song in memory of them all,” the organiser posted.

“No (bulls**t) that night please, we’re here to bring peace not hate and we all need to support each other.”

Police are still investigating the cause of the crash and are yet to speak to the driver at length.

Aoraki Area Commander Inspector Dave Gaskin said police needed to gather “a bit more” information before that happened.

“Obviously the investigation is very early days at the moment, and it would be better to speak to him when we have as much information as possible,” he said.

It was “far too early to speculate” on whether he would be charged.

“We will go through the process of evaluating all the evidence we have and once we have done that, we will make a decision on charges if in fact there are charges to be laid,” said Gaskin.

“We are trying to get as many witnesses we can who saw the vehicle that night.

“We are obviously still in very close contact with all the families of the young boys that have died, and we will be helping them and working with them… and then we will be moving through the investigation.

“We will have the car examined by vehicle testing and the Serious Crash Unit will do a report which will be eventually prepared and will form part of whether there is a prosecution file or not.

“It’s not a short process we have to make sure we do it thoroughly and properly.

Gaskin said he could only imagine the heartache the families of all the boys were experiencing.

“Especially on this occasion where you’ve got five young boys – their whole lives ahead of them cut short terribly short,” he said.

“From observations at the scene, I suspect both speed and alcohol were factors -the other thing of course is we know that the car was a Nissan Bluebird there were six young lads in it and only five seats one of the boys riding in the boot.

“If we put those altogether – it’s like baking a big cake when you have got all the ingredients you are always going to have a disaster at the end of it.”

Timaru Boys’ High School confirmed Niko Hill was a recent ex-student.

“Niko attended Timaru Boys’ High School until the end of Term 1 this year.

“He had a close set of friends and enjoyed playing rugby during his time here.

“Our priority is supporting the families and friends of those affected by this terrible event. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families at this very sad time.”

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