Emergency services at the scene of a serious crash on State Highway 1 near Oamaru where two people died. Photo / Wyatt Ryder via Otago Daily Times
Two drivers who died in a crash south of Ōamaru on Monday both worked for the same company in what the chief executive has called a “terrible coincidence”.
A large truck and trailer collided with a car on State Highway 1 near Browns Rd, Alma, Waitaki district, at about 9am.
The Otago Daily Times reports the truck was carrying coal for Hilton Haulage, but the company has confirmed the second driver was travelling privately on their rostered day off.
Chief executive Dylan Fitzgerald told the Otago Daily Times it was a “terrible tragedy for the families involved and the Hilton Haulage team”.
“We are all shocked by this terrible coincidence and our deepest sympathies go to both families during this time,” Fitzgerald said.
He said he was unable to comment on any possible causes of the accident, but would fully support the police in their investigations.
An internal investigation would also be conducted.
The crash topped off a horror 24 hours on South Island roads, with five people killed from Sunday evening to Monday morning.
A person died after a single-vehicle crash on Ōtira Highway, Jacksons, in Westland at about 3.40pm on Sunday.
Later that evening, Peta Kerr, 33, was killed when her vehicle crashed head-on with Bryan Kerr, 51, on Ashworths Rd, Leithfield.
Her 7-month-old baby survived the crash unharmed.
Her husband Leonard Bourton, told the Herald yesterday that his wife was “an amazing mum and a beautiful wife”.
“An angel of light in a world that needs so much more light, colours will never look as bright again for William and I now she is gone.”
It’s now the deadliest start to the year on the roads in recent years, with 34 people killed in crashes from January 1-30, according to Ministry of Transport data.
The toll is more than double the amount (17) killed in the same period in 2021.
Police’s Canterbury prevention manager, Inspector Ash Tabb, earlier told the Herald any road deaths are “devastating” and are “felt by many”.
“Many of the crashes emergency services respond to are preventable. We see too many crashes where motorists have chosen to speed, drink-drive, be impatient or let themselves get distracted and take their eyes off of the road,” Tabb said.
“Deaths on our roads not only impact the family and friends of those involved but the emergency services who respond and the public who witness the crash.”