Focus on the Land
Police speak to witnesses in accident probe
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
TWO men urgently sought by Gisborne police in relation to the fatal car crash near Ormond on Saturday night have made contact.
Four people were killed when a Ford Explorer travelling from the Waikato town of Putaruru collided with a van driven by Whatatutu woman and mother of four Serena Smith.
Ms Smith and three passengers in the other vehicle all died at the scene.
The accident happened just after 9pm on the main highway at Kaitaratahi.
Senior Sergeant Maui Aben said the two men sought by police were some of the first people on the scene and it was an important part of the investigation to speak with them and find out what they saw.
The men got in touch with police yesterday afternoon after hearing and seeing the calls over the media.
Police say the Ford Explorer with four occupants crossed the centre line and collided head-on with the van driven by Ms Smith, who was travelling home to Whatatutu alone after acting as the sober driver for her partner Trevor Brown. The couple have four children aged from three to 10.
The identities of the three passengers who died in the other vehicle have still not been released by police and they would not be officially named until a forensic examination identified the bodies, said Snr Sgt Aben.
But the New Zealand Herald has identified the driver as 58-year-old Roland Whitney and his three passengers who died as his son, Te Anau, 14, his partner Helena Moore, 42, and her son Phoenix, thought to be 20, all of Putaruru.
Snr Sgt Aben said police had still not been able to speak to the driver in Gisborne Hospital.
He is in a stable condition with moderate injuries in the intensive care unit and will be transferred to Waikato Hospital later today to be closer to his home and family.
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