Scouts member among dead in Taupō crash

News 29/04/2019

A senior member of New Zealand's Scouts community was one of the victims of the horror crash that claimed eight lives near Taupō on Sunday.

Chief executive of Scouts NZ, Joshua Tabor, told NZME the woman, who has not been officially named by police, had just attended the closing dinner at the National Caving School in Waitomo on Saturday night.

She was on her way to meet with a senior volunteer when the crash occurred.

We are committed to supporting her family as best we can given the sudden and tragic circumstances

Tabor told NZME, "We also extend our support and have offered counselling to our staff and volunteer community, many of whom worked closely with her during her long tenure with Scouts."

Police say the crash occurred after one of the two cars involved crossed the centre-line in wet conditions.

The sole survivor of the crash, a nine-year-old boy, is in a stable condition at Waikato Hospital after being air-lifted there with critical injuries.

A Deadly Month
 

Police are calling on drivers to simply slow down after Sunday's crash made April's road toll the deadliest in 10 years.

Forty-five people have been killed on New Zealand roads so far this month, the highest monthly-toll since April 2009, while 137 people have died this year - the highest total to begin a year since 2010.

Assistant Police Commissioner Sandra Venables says the variable weather seen across the country this month has led to dangerous, slippery roads.

"Across the country at the moment we're having some quite interesting weather in regards to lots of rain, torrential rain. Once rain comes on a dry road we do have some issues with it making it quite slippery," Venables told The AM Show.

People just need to be aware of that and drive to the conditions, which really means slow down.

"Everyone can make a mistake and you need to be aware of what's going on around you and drive safely."

Taupō mayor David Trewavas is in shock after yet another mass-fatality road crash in his district.

Five people, all from the same family, died just 10kms from the scene of Sunday's crash at the beginning of the month.

"It's getting ridiculous how often this is happening, I'm absolutely sick of it," Trewava told the AM Show.

I'm lost for words, I just don't know what to do - people have got to slow down.

The April road toll for Taupō and the South Waikato region is already at 14, just two deaths fewer than for all of 2018.

Venables says that these kinds of rural roads are where drivers need to take particular care.

"Most of the crashes that have occurred over the last month are predominantly on rural roads where there's 100km speed [limits] and very seldom are there median barriers."

The AM Show / Newshub reporter Albert Redmore