Speed, alcohol factors in fatal Vava’u crash

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Pall-bearers carrying the body of Ulaea To'imoana to his resting place. Photo/MP 'Akosita Lavulavu

Speed and alcohol were factors in a crash that killed three men and injured eight including the driver, Police said.

Ulaea To’imoana Folau, 24, of Leimātu’a, Anitelu Kātoa, 20, of Leimātu’a and Kāsete Lātū, 17 of Haunga, Makave were killed when the double cap van they were passengers in had crashed on Saturday 14.

Police Commissioner Steve Caldwell said the injured ages ranged from 19 to 26.

The group was on their way back to Neiafu from Mata’aho, a historical side where they were drinking alcohol when the driver lost control of the vehicle at an area where the road was very steep.

The death brings the road toll for 2017 to 4, compared to 18 last year.

“While the full circumstances of the crash are yet to be determined, alcohol and speed are being considered in this case. I can say that all too often Police are attending serious crashes that are avoidable,” said Commissioner Caldwell.

“So many families have been dealing with the grief of losing their loved ones on our roads, and that’s incredibly sad.

“We extend our sympathy to the families of those involved and our thoughts are with their loved ones at this tragic time.

Crashes like this are preventable and we all need to do our part to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads.”

Investigation into the crash continues.

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