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State Highway 30 crash: Family of Rotorua victim Jade Nicole Richards tells of heartbreak

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A Rotorua family lost its “heart and soul” on New Year’s Day when Jade Nicole Richards died following a single-vehicle crash on State Highway 30.

Jade, 18, was one of three people in the vehicle when it rolled on SH30. Two people received minor injuries.

A police spokesperson told the Rotorua Daily Post the crash occurred about 500 metres west of the intersection of SH30 and Lake Okataina Rd.

Jade’s family announced her death in a statement provided to the Rotorua Daily Post.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Jade Nicole Richards on 1 January 2024 due to a vehicle accident,” the statement said.

“Jade is the heart and soul of our family: the witty one, the cheeky one, the one that can say anything and get away with it.

“She can call you out on your poor behaviour and pick you up when you are down. She lights up a room, holds a crowd’s attention and gets up to all sorts of hijinks.”

Jade Richards, 18, died after the vehicle she was in rolled on SH30 on New Year's Day.
Jade Richards, 18, died after the vehicle she was in rolled on SH30 on New Year’s Day.

Jade was “in her own words” a “nana” who loved the comforts of her home and her cats.

The statement also said Jade was excited to begin studying at Victoria University in Wellington in February.

“Jadey girl we love you so damn much. We are all so proud of you and all that you have achieved, you have your own unique style, you are gorgeous inside and out, loved and adored by us all.

“We are heartbroken and in total disbelief that this has happened and our family is forever broken with our favourite piece missing.”

Jade Richards was in a vehicle that rolled on SH30 between Curtis Rd and Okataina Rd. Photo / Andrew Warner
Jade Richards was in a vehicle that rolled on SH30 between Curtis Rd and Okataina Rd. Photo / Andrew Warner

A funeral service for Jade will be held tomorrow at 2.30pm at Novotel Rotorua.

Jade was one of 20 people who died on New Zealand roads over the Christmas-New Year holiday period, which officially ended on January 3.

In a statement on the day of the crash, a police spokesperson said emergency services were called to the scene at 2.30pm.

“Sadly one person died at the scene and the two others involved received minor injuries.”

A Hato Hone St John spokesperson said two ambulances, one helicopter, one rapid response unit and one operations manager responded to the scene of the crash.

The spokesperson said the ambulance had treated two patients in minor condition and was transporting patients to Rotorua Hospital.



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