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Head-on crash in Ōtaki: Second person traveling in stolen ute dies in hospital

A second person has died after a head-on collision with a stolen van in Ōtaki.

The driver of the ute died at the scene of the April 26 incident. It was Reihana Horohau Hawea, 16 years old.

Two passengers in the vehicle were taken to the hospital. One died from his injuries at Wellington Hospital on Friday. The third remains hospitalized in serious condition.

The two people who were in the car that the stolen truck crashed into remained in the hospital.

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Police were still investigating the incident. They asked anyone with more information about the incident to call 105 or offer advice at 105.police.govt.nz and reference file number 240427/9204.

Police were particularly interested in any details about the movements of a Ford Courier van, registration number WS3093.

Shortly after 10:30 p.m. on April 26, police told a stolen van wanted in connection with a robbery in Ōtaki that same night to stop just south of Levin.

Central District Acting Commander Inspector Clifford Brown confirmed a chase was launched but was abandoned within minutes due to the driving, and the ute continued at high speed southbound on State Highway 1.

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At approximately 10:50 pm, the vehicle was observed returning onto State Highway 1 from Waikanae, heading north in the southbound lane.

The van collided head-on with another vehicle just south of Lawlors Rd around 11:05 p.m.

Hato Hone St John was alerted at 11.05pm and sent six ambulances, two managers, a rapid response unit and a helicopter to the scene.