Fatal crash in Waikato that kills five ‘grim’ and ‘heartbreaking’ – Waipā mayor

Five people died in a crash on State Highway 3/Ōhaupō Road near Te Awamutu on May 28, 2024.

Site of a fatal accident in which five people died on National Road 3 south of Ōhaupō on May 28, 2024.
Photo: RNZ/Natalie Akoorie

Waipā Mayor Susan O’Regan says it was a tough night for the district after a crash that killed multiple people on State Highway 3 in the Waikato.

Two vehicles collided head-on, killing all five passengers at the scene at Ōhaupō, north of Te Awamutu, at around 4.44pm on Tuesday.

There were three people in one vehicle and two people in the other.

said Waipā Mayor Susan O’Regan Morning report her thoughts were with the deceased’s family and friends, but she did not yet know whether they were members of her community.

The disaster was “heartbreaking and gut-wrenching at the same time,” she said.

The area where the accident occurred “is not what I would say a notoriously hot spot,” O’Regan said.

“It is generally considered to be a fairly safe stretch of state highway, albeit with heavy traffic.”

O’Regan said her first reaction, like many others in the area, was to check whether her family was involved in the crash.

“The heartbreaking thing is that there will be a lot of people there, maybe in our neighborhood. “I’m not sure where these people live, but there will certainly be families who will now enter a period of truly unbearable pain,” she said. he said.

On Tuesday evening, O’Regan confirmed that no Waipā council workers were involved in the crash, but that paled in comparison to the overall picture.

The crash site would have been terrible for those first arriving on the scene, and emergency services did an incredible job responding to the “grim” circumstances, she added.

“I just want to thank them for their service and for the people who encountered this particular accident, the first people on the scene… those who did not invite (themselves) to be in this situation. I want to say on behalf of the community, thank you for acting quickly and doing the right thing.”

The scene of a fatal crash that killed five people on State Highway 3 SH3 south of Oaupo, May 28, 2024.

Police say it was a head-on collision.
Photo: Delivered / New Zealand Police

The road where the accident occurred was a busy route that she believed was relatively safe.

Te Awamutu-Kihikihi ward councilor Lou Brown said the Waipā community had been rocked by two fatal accidents there in less than a week.

On Friday, former Waipā councilor James Charles Parlane died in a two-vehicle accident on the same stretch of road.

Brown believes Tuesday’s crash may have occurred where two lanes merged into one.

“What we are talking about here is that there was allegedly a head-on collision, which is incredibly surprising to me. It’s an easy part of the road. There are no tight corners or blind spots, as I have come to understand,” he said. he said.

He drove this route regularly and scratched his head at how two terrible accidents could have happened there.

“It’s quite an open stretch of road, with dual carriageways in both directions (in some places). So it’s quite unusual to imagine anyone out there grieving,” Brown said.

Waikato Roads Police Inspector Jeff Penno said police did not consider the section of road where the crash occurred to be a high-risk area.

Although the police investigation into the accident was still in its early stages, initial information indicated that environmental factors did not appear to be a major factor in the accident, he added.

“We have a lot of ground to cover, and our priority right now is to understand what caused this tragedy,” Penno said.

He added that the police provide support to those who need it.