Road a speed magnet


June 15, 2019 - 309 views

A Shortland Rd resident says the straight stretch of road in north Oamaru where two people were killed in a crash on Wednesday night is a magnet for speeding vehicles.

Kaylem Webb-Hirst (16), a former Waitaki Boys' High School pupil who recently left the school, was yesterday named by his family as one of the people who died when the vehicle in which he was a passenger crashed and caught fire at the intersection of TY Duncan and Shortland Rds about 11pm.

Members of Kaylem's family declined to comment further when contacted by the Otago Daily Times.

The 18-year-old driver of the vehicle, also a former Waitaki Boys' pupil, was seriously injured in the crash and remains in a stable condition in Dunedin Hospital.

The name of the other person killed has not been released.

Detective Sergeant Hannah Booth, of Oamaru, said police completed a scene examination on Thursday and continued to interview witnesses yesterday to establish the cause of the crash, which was not yet known.

It was not clear if speed was a factor, she said.

The deaths have been referred to the coroner.

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times yesterday, Brent Mulligan, who has lived in Shortland Rd for about 15 years, said he did not hear the crash but saw emergency services arrive.

"I was asleep, but my wife heard the car and she woke me up and said there might have been a fatal crash down the road. Then we saw all of the lights and sirens down there."

He frequently heard or saw vehicles speeding or driving erratically past his property and often feared there would be a serious accident.

"In the weekend when I am doing maintenance here you hear them coming, usually from the south end of town. It's a blur when you see them shoot past - and that's in broad daylight.

"Some are side by side, duelling each other. I have always thought one day they are going to come to grief. These cars are just going for it.

"I don't know what the police can do about it - probably not a lot. If the speed limit was put to 50kmh, it's not going to make any difference to them. They probably need some signage down there [the intersection with TY Duncan Rd]. It's a dead end effectively."

Sergeant Tony Woodbridge, of Oamaru, said police regularly received reports of vehicles driving dangerously or at high speed on streets around Oamaru, including Shortland Rd.

"A lot of roads are used for this kind of thing. We are sent to a lot of different roads around the area, not just that road. We would have been sent to that road, I guarantee that."

Yesterday, police were called to Waitaki Boys' after reports of two cars driving dangerously in Waitaki Ave.

Sgt Woodbridge said that, in light of yesterday's news, dangerous driving and putting pedestrians' lives at risk was "idiotic".

"We see this as very stupid behaviour and not the way to honour people who died."

Waitaki Boys' rector Darryl Paterson censured those involved.

"Under the circumstances of the tragedy, of course it's inappropriate," he said.

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