November 30, 2023

Tight-knit community hit by ‘incredibly sad’ weekend on roads, five dead in two separate crashes

"It's a very sad reminder to people of the importance of taking care every single time you get behind the wheel."

It’s been an “incredibly sad” weekend on Canterbury’s roads following two fatal car crashes, which claimed five lives. 

Both crashes were within close proximity of each other, the first one, a crash between a school bus and a car killed two people on Friday afternoon on Sefton’s Inland Scenic Route 72, near the intersection of Broad and Harleston Rds. 

Rangiora High School associate principal Paul Donnelly confirmed to Stuff, six of their students were on the bus at the time and suffered minor injuries. 

Stuff reports the two dead are the driver of the car Jesse Rouvi-Symons, 32, and passenger Jesse Crossan, 28.

Canterbury police confirmed on Monday morning three people died in a separate crash on Sunday night

The crash happened at about 6:50pm on Sunday night where one person in each vehicle died at the scene, while a third person, a second occupant of one of the vehicles, was taken to hospital with critical injuries. They died in Christchurch Hospital overnight. 

In a statement, Canterbury Rural Area Commander Inspector Peter Cooper said five families’ lives have “been turned upside down in the space of a weekend”.

“This is an incredibly sad blow to not only the families of the deceased, but to all those affected in a small community – which includes the attending emergency services, some of whom would have attended both crashes.”

Insp Cooper said the exact causes remain under investigation by the Serious Crash Unit, but said there were poor weather conditions in the area at the time of Sunday’s crash.

“It’s a very sad reminder to people of the importance of taking care every single time you get behind the wheel.”

In a statement, Waimakariri District Mayor Dan Gordon said his “thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the families and friends of those who died”

“We are a tight-knit District and I know these losses will have a profound affect on people.”

“I would also like to acknowledge the dedicated work of the emergency services personnel, some who attended both scenes. I know this was particularly difficult.”

Gordon added, “these events are a sad reminder of the need to take care on our roads”.

Tributes were shared on social media over the weekend, where Crossan was described by friend Nick Flack as a “great friend and supporter of my music” during his time in Christchurch.

“My sincere condolences and love go out to your family and friends. Love you forever. You’ll never be forgotten!”

Crossan’s sister said her brother was “loved deeply by so many” and thanked her Facebook friends for their support “while we navigate the early stages of this unbearable grief”.

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