Teen’s death prompts warning from police

The death of an Invercargill 16-year old this week was described as a tragedy by a police area commander yesterday.

Police said Karson Grennell died following a crash at the intersection of Nith and Bowmont Sts in Invercargill about 5.50pm on Monday. He was taken to Southland Hospital but died early on Tuesday.

It was the sixth fatality on Southland roads involving a teenager this year.

A 17-year-old girl died last month when she lost control of her car and crashed into the Oreti River and, in April, four teenage boys were killed in a car crash on Queens Dr.

While investigations into the crashes were ongoing, area commander Inspector Mike Bowman extended his condolences to the families.

“Any loss of life is tragic, but when you lose young people in such an early stage of their lives, it has that ripple effect across the community.”

He urged people — especially youth — to be sensible when driving, which included not driving while drinking alcohol, using seat belts and keeping phones somewhere which could not cause distraction to the driver.

“They are just small steps but it can go a long way to keep everyone safe.”

Southland road policing manager Senior Sergeant Brent Kingsland said police had noticed an increase in road deaths right across the country.

“What we are seeing here in Southland are largely the same factors that contribute to most fatal or serious injury crashes — people aren’t using proper restraints, are driving impaired or distracted, or are driving at excessive speeds.”

He said the first few months after a driver receives their restricted licence was when people were more at risk of a serious crash.

“The increased risk is partly due to inexperience, so it’s important that young people be extra vigilant.”

Police were committed to increasing their efforts and to continue to take the appropriate prevention and enforcement action necessary to reduce death and serious injury on roads in Southland, he said.

“However, road safety is everyone’s responsibility and we need road users to take care.

“It’s a simple and easy action to put on your seatbelt and it could save your life. Please drive to the speed limit, stay focused, driver sober and arrive safely.”

 – The accident at the corner of Nith and Bowmont Sts was not a hit-and-run as reported by the Otago Daily Times yesterday.

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