Rachel Fieldhouse

News

Tue, 21 Jun, 2022

Deadly crash claims seven family members from three generations

Deadly crash claims seven family members from three generations

A Year 11 student is one of two to survive a crash that killed seven of his relatives, including his younger brother and mother.

Luie Lagud, 16, was travelling in a van with family members spanning three generations on a whirlwind trip across the length of New Zealand’s South Island when the vehicle was involved in a head-on crash with a truck on Sunday morning.

The crash left the Toyota Hiace van completely destroyed and is the deadliest incident to occur in the country since April 2019.

According to the NZ Herald, the family have since given permission for the names of the deceased to be published.

Among the victims were Diseree Brown, 48, her husband Paul Brown, 61, and their son Mark. 

Desiree’s sister, 56-year-old Divine Dolar, Divine’s daughter Flordeliza Dolar, 19, were also among those who died.

Luie and his older brother, 26-year-old Pedro Clariman, were the only two to survive. 

However, Luie was in a coma and undergoing surgery on Monday after suffering significant spinal and head injuries and remains in intensive care.

Pedro’s partner and his infant daughter, Mika, tragically died in the crash. 

Diseree’s three other children, David, Princess, and Joanna, didn’t travel with the family.

The night before, the family stayed in Rolleston, outside Christchurch, with a family friend. The man who identified himself as Bill called Newstalk ZB on Monday to confirm members of the “vibrant” family had died.

“They spent some of their last hours on earth with me on Saturday night, Sunday morning,” he told Canterbury Mornings host John MacDonald.

Having left Bill’s home at 2.30am on Sunday morning to catch a Cook Strait ferry back to the North Island, the van crossed the centreline and collided with a refrigerated goods truck in Picton at about 7.30am.

The truck driver suffered minor injuries.

The family had started their journey by travelling to Gore for the funeral of an elderly aunt, which 21-year-old David Lagud said he didn’t attend because he had to work and because he suffered from motion sickness.

“In a blink of an eye, it’s all gone,” David told the NZ Herald.

Videos posted throughout the trip showed the family laughing together, spending time with Pedro’s young daughter, and travelling across the country.

Since the incident, the principal of Pukekohe High School - which two of the family members were attending - emailed parents to advise them that two students were involved in the crash.

“One of our Year 10 students died at the scene of the accident. His older brother, in Year 11, remains in hospital. Our thoughts and condolences are with their family and close friends,” the email read.

“Students and staff who knew the two students well are being supported and cared for in school today. Additional counselling support has been made available, and the school is closely following advice from the Ministry’s Traumatic Incident team.”

David has also spoken to Pedro since the crash, who he said had minor injuries and was able to walk with difficulty.

Pedro told his brother what happened in the leadup to the crash, saying he had been driving when the family left Christchurch so that Paul could sleep in the front passenger seat for another four hours.

After that, Paul swapped with Pedro to complete the trip to the ferry and was well-rested when took the wheel.

Before falling asleep in the passenger seat, it is understood Pedro spent some time playing with his daughter.

Being asleep when the vehicles collided, it’s believed Pedro woke up to the carnage.

“He saw my dad’s body on the road and then my brother Luie, he was awake and then he collapsed,” David said.

“Then the next minute, the helicopter was there, taking my little brother to hospital.”

David said Pedro was grief-stricken to discover both his partner and daughter had died.

“He was devastated, he was crying a lot. Both of his loves are gone.”

The NZ Herald reported that police said the incident would be referred to the coroner for investigation.

Image: NZ Herald