Two dead, woman seriously hurt by ‘freak accident’ after three Northland crashes

Two people have died in separate crashes near Kaitaia and a woman has been seriously injured in a ‘freak accident’ involving a car with no driver on the Paihia waterfront.

In the first incident a 63-year-old woman died after a crash on Kaitaia-Awaroa Rd, about 4.5km west of town.

The accident occurred about 11.30am when the woman’s vehicle went into a three-metre-deep drain and flipped.

Investigations are continuing into whether her death was a result of the crash or a medical event.

Senior Sergeant Brian Swann, of Northland police, said CPR was performed and a rescue helicopter was dispatched to Kaitaia, but she died at the scene.

The deceased was the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle.

The road was closed and the Serious Crash Unit attended. The road was reopened about 1.30pm.

That evening, about 11pm on Saturday, a young man died in a crash on Paparore Rd, about 15km north of Kaitaia.

Three other men, all in their late teens or early 20s, had moderate injuries.

St John Ambulance and the Kaitaia and Houhora fire brigades attended.

Kaitaia deputy fire chief Ross Beddows said it appeared the Isuzu Mu with four occupants had rolled on a corner at the northern end of Paparore Rd and come to rest on its roof.

Three of the occupants were out of the vehicle and being treated by St John Ambulance when the brigade arrived.

The deceased had been thrown from the vehicle and was trapped underneath it.

Firefighters used hydraulic lifting equipment to free him.

The police Serious Crash Unit investigation will examine, among other things, whether the deceased was wearing a seat belt.

Also on Saturday a woman was seriously injured in what is thought to have been a freak accident involving a car with no driver on the Paihia waterfront.

Emergency services were called about 3.45am to Marsden Rd, where a group had been socialising at the southern end of the beach near the kayak hire shop.

Senior Sergeant Brian Swann said the group’s sober driver, who was not in the vehicle, had put the key in the ignition and turned it on, not realising the car had been left in gear.

The vehicle lurched forward and ran over a person.

The incident had been captured on CCTV and was not suspicious.

Paihia Fire Brigade was first on the scene with firefighters applying first aid until St John Ambulance arrived.

A firefighter said the woman had been run over by the front and back wheels and was in a serious condition.

It appeared to be a freak accident, he said.

A rescue helicopter collected her from the Paihia School field and flew her to Middlemore Hospital in Auckland.

It appeared the car had jumped a kerb and come to rest against a park bench.

If the death of the driver on Kaitaia-Awaroa Rd is confirmed as being due to a medical event, rather than the crash, this weekend’s accidents will bring Northland’s road toll for the year to date to seven. It stood at nine at the same time last year.

A mother and son died in a head-on crash near Kaeo last weekend. Three others, two of them children, were critically injured.

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