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Tributes flow for 'beautiful' students killed in roadworks crash

Author
Anna Leask,
Publish Date
Sat, 2 Dec 2023, 2:03PM

Tributes flow for 'beautiful' students killed in roadworks crash

Author
Anna Leask,
Publish Date
Sat, 2 Dec 2023, 2:03PM

Two teenagers who died when the car they were in crashed into roadworks at speed on Thursday have been remembered as “beautiful” students by their Northland high school. 

And their family and friends have spoken about the tragic loss of Trinity Vemoa and Corey-Leigh Tobin in a raft of social media tributes. 

Trinity, 18, and 16-year-old Corey-Leigh died and another teen was critically injured after the crash at 5pm on State Highway 1 in Hūkerenui, south of Kawakawa. 

A 15-year-old male passenger was treated by Hato Hone St John medics and immediately taken to Whangārei Hospital. 

Serious crash investigator Jeff Cramp told the Northern Advocate that at the time of the crash the car was speeding southbound on SH1. 

After crashing into roadworks, the driver lost control and ended up on a farm paddock. 

“For some reason, they ignored the 30km/h speed limit sign set by the roadwork guys who had left for the day,” said Cramp. 

“Their speeding vehicle hit some of the roadworks, crossed the centre line and caused them to lose control of their car due to the loose metal on the tarsealed road. 

“The car then rolled and flipped over a farm driveway until they ended up on the paddocks.” 

The Northern Advocate reported that none of the car’s occupants appeared to be wearing seatbelts. 

He did not specify who was driving but did say the young female passenger - Corey-Leigh - appeared to have been thrown from the vehicle as it rolled. 

Both Corey-Leigh and Trinity attended Kaitāia College. 

The school posted photographs and tributes on Facebook this morning. 

“With heavy hearts we announce the passing of our beautiful student,” said separate posts naming each of the victims. 

“Our thoughts and aroha are with the whānau at this time.” 

Trinity’s mother Sheree posted on Facebook about getting the call from police about the crash. 

“It breaks my heart to write this. On Thursday evening, I received a phone call that Trinity had been in a car accident and didn’t survive,” she wrote. 

“We went and ID (sic) him this morning and sadly it’s true that my boy is gone. 

“We love you son and still can’t believe this is really happening. Rest in peace my boy.” 

Trinity will be laying at his family home from tomorrow afternoon and a funeral will be held at Kaitāia College on Tuesday at 11am. 

His mother said he would then be cremated and the family would host a meal at their home afterwards. 

A service for Corey-Leigh, who turned 15 in August, is yet to be confirmed. 

A notice was posted online by Haven Falls Poutama Tangihanga Funeral Home on behalf of the teen’s family, describing her as a “beloved daughter and sister”. 

“It is with broken hearts we are devastated to announce the tragic passing of our beautiful girl Corey-Leigh Kahutia Tobin,” said the post. 

She will be returning back to her tūpuna o Ngāti Kuri, where she will lay at Waiora marae. Rā nehu (burial) details are yet to be finalised. 

Corey-Leigh’s mother said she was “devasted”. 

“It is with broken hearts we are devastated to announce the tragic passing of our beautiful girl Corey-Leigh Kahutia Tobin,” she wrote online. 

“Gone far too soon our baby girl.” 

Hundreds of people posted messages of condolence and support for both teens’ families. 

The cause of the crash is ongoing. 

Anna Leask is a Christchurch-based reporter who covers national crime and justice. She joined the Herald in 2008 and has worked as a journalist for 18 years. She writes, hosts and produces the award-winning podcast A Moment In Crime, released monthly on nzherald.co.nz 

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