Picton crash tragedy: Relative shocked by loss of loved ones

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A relative of those who died in a horrific crash south of Picton yesterday says she lost nearly everyone in her family.

The deaths of seven people on the road near Picton shocked the nation and left a family devastated.
Photo: Supplied / Trish Rawlings

The collision on State Highway One claimed the lives of seven people and left the community in shock.

Princess Clariman remained in Auckland while her family traveled south to attend a funeral in Gore and was left devastated by the horror accident.

Her parents, three of her brothers, an aunt, a cousin and other family members – including a baby – were traveling in the van when it collided with a refrigerated cargo truck just south of Picton on Sunday morning.

“It’s a real shock because of the tragedy of our family,” she said.

The family were on their way home from the funeral, traveling to catch the ferry when the accident happened.

Princess is now in Wellington Hospital, where one of her brothers is in intensive care and the other is in stable condition in a hospital ward.

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“They need our support at this time, especially in this difficult time because the partner and the daughter are gone and my mother and my aunt, all are gone,” she said.

“It’s very hard for my older brothers and my younger brothers too, who are grieving at the moment.”

According to the police, the circumstances of the accident are still under investigation.

Marlborough Area Commander Simon Feltham said both vehicles were seized for examination.

The probe will reveal if either vehicle had a dash cam containing footage from the crash that could reveal what happened.

Waka Kotahi said that over the past decade there have been five fatalities and 21 serious injuries on National Highway One between Picton and Blenheim.

He was helping the Serious Crash Unit in their investigation.

“We will also conduct our own crash site review as we do in response to all fatal crashes on the state highway system and will focus on the potential contribution of any road or road factors to the crash. and on any security improvements that can be made to this site,” a spokesperson said.

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The accident happened on the same bend where Picton man Gary Kenny died in a head-on collision with a truck in March 2020.

Road safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson said the multiple-death crash was devastating and stressed the need for a median barrier across the freeway.

“Cars can’t have head-on collisions when they’re on either side of the median barrier, it’s really that simple,” he said.

“The road to Picton is an accident waiting. It’s a 1950s road, basically. It’s very narrow with a lot of rushed cars and a lot of tired drivers and it’s kind of prepared for this kind of fatality.”

Matthew-Wilson, Car Website Editor The Dog and Lemon Guide, said the government needed to rethink its aim of reducing speed limits.

In Picton, many residents told RNZ they did not think the road needed any improvements. But Laurie Stevenson, who traveled this stretch of road twice a day, said the trunk road would need more investment.

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He said the news of the accident was horrific and came as a shock.

“The amount of traffic it has, especially the ferry traffic several times a day, the road is definitely not up to standard. If it was Auckland’s main road it would be at least four lanes.”

He would like to see the road widened or the speed reduced to avoid further deaths.

Two of the boys involved in the crash were students from Pukekohe High School. One of the boys was killed and his brother is hospitalized in serious condition.

School principal Richard Barnett said staff and pupils have been deeply affected by the tragedy.

“Everyone I spoke to knew this family said how lovely they were. he recovers.”

Barnett said the students were offered bereavement counseling.

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