FRIENDS and family are grieving the loss of "the best three boys anyone can have in their lives" after their car crashed into the side of a parked truck and exploded in flames.

Two brothers and their best friend, all in their early 20s, were in the car that ploughed into an unoccupied truck-and-trailer on Cambridge St in Levin around 12.11am yesterday.

Witnesses heard no braking before the crash, the force of which shunted the fully-loaded rig a metre and a half.

Locals ran to help the victims but were beaten back as the car went up in flames.

Resident Sandy Cassidy was woken by the sound of the crash and was first on the scene. Before she could reach the car, it began smoking and the tyres started popping as it caught fire.

"The whole car exploded. It was devastating," Cassidy told the Herald. "There was nothing left of the car this morning when they pulled it out."

She had been unable to sleep since. Her thoughts were with the dead men's families.

In the car were two brothers and the best friend of one of the young men. Their relatives were called by police overnight but arrived to see the road blocked by police, and the car wedged under the truck, covered by a tarpaulin. The truck's body was burned out, its tyres were blown and the entire vehicle was badly damaged. The truck was stacked with rolls of paper and had been parked outside the driver's house for the weekend.

Stunned residents of the small Horowhenua town turned out to survey the scene as crews worked to remove the car yesterday morning. Heat from the fire had melted the road and an overhead light, and ash coated the area.

Locals ran to help after hearing the sound of the impact, but reached the scene as the car exploded into flames.
Locals ran to help after hearing the sound of the impact, but reached the scene as the car exploded into flames. Supplied

The three are understood to hail from Porirua, where they attended Aotea College.

Police will not be releasing the young men's names until they have been formally identified. Notes of love have been left at the scene, and the men's Facebook walls were crowded with messages from devastated loved ones.

The grieving father of one of the boys wrote: "Missing you heaps already son. Always with me always in my heart. Love you heaps. RIP xx Dad." Friends mourned the loss of one of "the best three boys anyone can have in their lives".

"We always got along so well and always a good vibe," another wrote. "Love yah brother hope you're at peace, no more pain and you're in God's hands, meet up again soon." One friend said he couldn't stop crying every time he thought about what had happened.

"The one [ ... ] person that doesn't deserve it one bit," he wrote. "Just writing this is tearing me apart."

Porirua city councillor Anita Baker said the crash was "an absolute tragedy" and that it would be deeply felt in the small community.

The fully laden truck was shunted over a metre and left a burned-out wreck.
The fully laden truck was shunted over a metre and left a burned-out wreck. Horowhenua Chronicle

"When these things happen in Porirua - we're a young community."

The owner of the car has been described as a "really nice guy" who was well-liked at the company where he worked. "He was a really practical and down-to-earth person."

Levin mayor Michael Feyen said the crash would be widely felt in the town.

"My heart really goes out to the families and also to the people first on the scene. They have no training in anything like that."

The former cop said emergency services had done a wonderful job, but all those involved would be "sorting through a whole range of emotions".

Counselling was available for anyone affected by the crash, he added.


Why you should change your iPhone passcode

Why you should change your iPhone passcode

Do you use a six-digit passcode for your iPhone?

Splendour tickets sold out in minutes

Splendour tickets sold out in minutes

If you missed out, don’t panic and read on

The joy is in the giving, and giving, and giving

The joy is in the giving, and giving, and giving

The joy is in the giving, and giving, and giving

Local Partners