Two people killed while changing a tyre on State Highway 29A at Maungatapu have been named.
Kenny McCrae, 52, and Leigh Antoinette Rhodes, 60, were the two people who died following the crash on Friday afternoon, says Tauranga Police Sergeant Wayne Hunter.
Traffic was back up as far as the eye could see following the crash on Friday. Supplied photo.
Kenny, also known as Woody, died at the scene and Leigh died in Tauranga Hospital.
A third person remains in Tauranga Hospital and is expected to be released later this week.
Kenny's brother, Gavin Emeny, says his brother and his best mate were neighbours, reports NZME. The neighbor received a call from Leigh on Friday afternoon saying she had a flat tyre.
The two men jacked up the wheel, while Leigh waved traffic past.
"The traffic was merging pretty well around them. The wheel was off, and they were just about to put the spare wheel back on and the traffic was merging into other lane, but one car did not see what was happening and it clipped all three of them," says Gavin.
Gavin says his brother was a car salesman who changed his name by deed poll in 2004.
He was "the life of the party, always telling a joke. If there was a story to be told, “Kenny would tell it".
Police are continuing to investigate the incident and are asking for any witnesses who haven't already spoken with police to come forward.
Police also want to remind people while the majority of drivers take their road user responsibilities seriously, “crashes and loss of life clearly demonstrate when a mistake is made the consequences are devastating and far reaching”.
People with information are asked to contact Tauranga Police Station on 07 577 4300, and ask for Senior Constable Paul Gunner.
Alternatively, information can also be left anonymously via the Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 line.