Timaru car crash: Bereft dad mourns - 'To lose five kids, and they're all mates, is huge'

Timaru car crash: Bereft dad mourns - 'To lose five kids, and they're all mates, is huge'

Saturday night was the worst night of Stephen Drummond’s life.

He was one of five parents who got the news of their nightmares – that their child had been killed in a crash.

He was the one of five parents who had to identify his son’s body lying cold and lifeless in a hospital.

And since then, things have not got any easier.

Not only is he mourning son Javarney, he is bereft over the deaths of four other teenage boys he had come to know well and love like his own.

Timaru car crash: Bereft dad mourns - 'To lose five kids, and they're all mates, is huge'

Javarney Drummond. Photo / Supplied

Javarney Wayne Drummond, 15, Niko William Hill, 15, Jack “Jacko” Wallace, 16, Joseff “Joey” McCarthy, 16, and Andrew Goodger, 15, were all killed when the Nissan Bluebird they were travelling in smashed into a concrete power pole.

The impact was so severe, it sliced the car in half.

Only the driver, 19-year-old Tyreese Fleming, who was on a restricted licence, survived the smash.

Now, the boys’ families and friends are struggling to come to terms with the fatal crash while planning funerals and memorial events.

Stephen Drummond, a panel beater, said he was looking forward to painting his son’s car.
Now, instead, he will be painting his coffin.

Drummond will bury his only son on Friday afternoon.

“I can’t paint a car for him so I’ll paint his coffin,” he told the Herald.

Timaru car crash: Bereft dad mourns - 'To lose five kids, and they're all mates, is huge'

Niko Hill. Photo / Supplied

“It’s heart-wrenching. A huge piece of my life has gone … It’s gutting.

“My hearts go out to the families. I’m gutted for them as much as I am for my own family.

“To lose five kids, and they’re all mates, is huge … We had one of their mates turn up last night and he was devastated – he thought he lost one friend, not five friends. He burst into tears.”

Drummond had to go to the hospital to identify his child.

“When I identified him I just wished it wasn’t my boy,” he said.

“Timaru’s too small. Everybody knows everybody. I feel really gutted for everyone involved.

“The next few months is going to be really, really hard work.

“I’ve got family and friends and everything else but, at the end of the day, it doesn’t bring your boy back. And I’m not the only one in that boat.”

Javarney was a happy, social boy, who had enjoyed playing soccer and rugby.

Timaru car crash: Bereft dad mourns - 'To lose five kids, and they're all mates, is huge'

Stephen Drummond's son Javarney was killed in the crash. He spoke to the Herald today about his immense grief. Photo / George Heard

His father said he was a “quiet kid … a cruisy cool kid” with a close group of friends.

“Fourteen or fifteen of his friends come and go from here [the family home] and the four who died are quite close friends,” Drummond said.

“It’s like losing four family members. In the last eight months I’ve got quite close to them and there are no words to describe it. No kid is perfect but they’re all cool and cruisy. I just can’t really get my head around it.

“No parent should have to bury their kid. What’s happened with five families in Timaru is really, really disgusting. I haven’t got answers for it.”

Drummond wouldn’t comment on his feelings about the driver or what might happen to him.

“That’s not for me to say right now,” he said.

The police investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Timaru car crash: Bereft dad mourns - 'To lose five kids, and they're all mates, is huge'

Andrew Goodger. Photo / Supplied

Aoraki Area Commander Inspector Dave Gaskin said yesterday it was too early to say if the driver would be charged.

“We won’t be speaking to the driver until we have got a little bit more information- obviously the investigation is very early days at the moment, and it would be better to speak to him when we have as much information as possible,” he said.

“From observations at the scene, I suspect both speed and alcohol were factors.”

He said it was obvious some of the boys were not wearing seatbelts.

One of them was in the boot when the car crashed.

“It’s like baking a big cake,” said Gaskin. “When you have got all the ingredients you are always going to have a disaster at the end of it.

Timaru car crash: Bereft dad mourns - 'To lose five kids, and they're all mates, is huge'

Five teens were killed and the driver injured when this car crashed near Timaru on Saturday night. Photo George Heard

Gaskin said the whole town was hurting.

“Timaru is a town but it’s a small town and people know people – some of my staff know all the young men involved. I happen to know one of the families,” he said.

“It’s incredibly sad and it puts it into perspective.

“The problem with the police is we tend to go to disasters all the time and we are very good at dealing with it but this occasion means it’s actually quite personal and close to you.”

The driver, Fleming, is in a stable condition in Timaru Hospital.

On Sunday he posted a photo and message to social media site Snapchat apologising to the families of the dead boys.

His family have not responded to the Herald.

Friends of the victims have planned a memorial for them on Saturday night and are encouraging people to come along in their cars and “tear up” the road.

The plan has drawn criticism from some corners. But organisers have urged people attending to be responsible.

Timaru car crash: Bereft dad mourns - 'To lose five kids, and they're all mates, is huge'

Friends of the victims have been gathering at the crash scene. Photo / George Heard

“Let’s all show them how much we miss them,” says a post being shared widely on social media.

“We would love it if you came but please remember to drive safely and wear seatbelts.

“Feel free to tear up the road as much as you want but make sure that no one gets hurt.”

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