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Second person dies after stolen ute crashes in lower North Island

police car at night on the street

Archive photo.
Photo: 123RF

A second person has died from their injuries after a stolen van crashed in the coastal district of Kāpiti last week, police say.

The truck was driving the wrong way on State Highway 1 on Friday last week when it was involved in a fatal head-on collision.

Acting Central District Commander Inspector Clifford Brown said the stolen van, wanted in connection with a robbery in Ōtaki on Friday night, was signaled to stop just south of Levin shortly after 10.30pm.

Police pursued the van but abandoned the chase “within minutes” due to the way it was driving.

The ute continued heading south “at speed” on State Highway 1, and at around 10.50pm was seen returning to the highway from Waikanae, heading north in the southbound lane.

Fifteen minutes later, the pickup truck collided head-on with another vehicle just south of Lawlors Road.

The driver of the van was pronounced dead at the scene, whom police identified as Reihana Horohau Hawea, 16, of Levin.

The passenger, who was taken to Wellington Hospital in a critical condition, died yesterday.

A third passenger in the ute remains in hospital in a serious condition, and two of the four people who were in the car that was hit also remain in Wellington Hospital.

The incident remained under investigation.