Two people died in a grim weekend on Northland roads after serious crashes near Ruakākā on Friday and Kawakawa on Saturday.
Two people have died in a grim weekend on Northland roads.
The first incident occurred on State Highway 1, near the Uretiti campground midway between Ruakākā and Waipū, about 6.45pm on Friday.
The head-on crash claimed the life of a 28-year-old woman who was driving north in a Suzuki Swift for a family visit.
The other motorist, a male driving a Mazda, suffered only minor injuries.
One vehicle ended up in roadside scrub while the other came to rest on its side, also off the road.
The highway was closed and diversions were put in place for several hours while an investigator from the police Serious Crash Unit examined the scene.
Ruakākā deputy fire chief Warren Marshall said the firefighters were at the station at the time to congratulate members who’d just gained firefighting qualifications, so they were on the road within a minute.
They helped keep the scene safe and extricated the woman from her vehicle.
A police investigation into the cause of the crash is continuing.
The second fatality occurred on State Highway 11, also known as Paihia Rd, near Kawakawa, about 4.40pm on Saturday.
In that case, the deceased was a motorcyclist who was believed to have lost control and come off his bike on the Kawakawa side of Lemon’s Hill.
He was initially in a critical condition and died at the scene.
Traffic travelling between Kawakawa and Ōpua or Paihia was diverted via Pakaraka until the highway was re-opened about 10.15pm.
Police are expected to release the victims’ names once all next of kin have been notified.
A Hato Hone St John spokesman said no one else was involved in the Kawakawa crash, while one patient with minor injuries from the Waipū crash was assessed and treated at the scene.
The weekend’s deaths bring Northland’s road toll for the year to date to 14, according to Ministry of Transport figures.
That is significantly more than the toll of 11 deaths at the same time last year, but less than at the same time in 2021 when the tally was 15.
Kawakawa Fire Brigade, which responded to the SH11 crash, was also called to a crash on Waikare Rd in Russell Forest about 12.30am on Sunday after a ute went off the road and down a bank.
Fire chief Wayne Martin said firefighters secured the vehicle to make sure it wouldn’t tumble any further and checked on the driver, who was unhurt.