Three best friends die in fiery smash

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

Wellington
Three best friends in their early 20s died after their car burst into flames when it crashed into the side of a large truck and trailer parked on the side of the road.
As a result of the collision on Cambridge Street in Levin, the car exploded into flames, engulfing the car and the truck at 12.20am yesterday.
Shand Cotgrove, Jacob Gray and Jesse Hayne died when the car they were in crashed into a truck and trailer unit in Levin on Saturday.
Mr Cotgrove was Mr Hayne’s older brother while Mr Gray was their best friend.
The trio, all Levin locals, were killed instantly in the crash just after midnight on Cambridge Street. Nobody was in the truck.
Maureen Devereux, who was working at Bassingers Motor Lodge on Oxford Street in Levin, said the flames were so huge she and her husband initially thought a house had caught fire.
“We heard three explosions at about 12.30,” she said.
The couple woke yesterday to find ash all over the motel’s forecourt.
Mrs Devereux said her husband went out to see what was going on as soon as they heard the sounds, but by the time he arrived he saw there was nothing he could do.
Emergency services were on the scene when he got there, she said.
“It’s terrible for Levin.”
Levin mayor Michael Feyen said the situation was “extremely sad”.
“I really feel for the families.”
It is not yet known where the three were heading or who was driving but the owner of the car has been described as a “really nice guy” who was well-liked by the company he worked for.
Family members were called by police overnight and arrived at the scene to see the road blocked by police, and the car wedged under the truck, covered by a tarpaulin.
The truck appeared to have been carrying commercial rolls of paper, which were now strewn across the road.
The truck’s body was burned out, its tyres were blown and the entire vehicle was badly damaged.
Levin resident Charles Bagnall said the truck had been parked on Cambridge Street for several weeks without moving.
When he passed it on his morning walk about 8am he saw the middle had been badly damaged.
“The car would have driven straight into the side of it,” he said.
“The tarpaulin has been burned and there’s rolls of some sort of material which has been partially burned as well.” NZME

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