Family of Cromwell teen crash victim launch fund for young drivers

by Kim Bowden - Apr 02, 2024

A grieving Cromwell family is raising money to support young people learning to drive as they farewell a beloved son and brother.

Kelan Stroud, 17, died in what is described as a "catastrophic" car crash in the Cromwell Gorge last week.

Kelan, a former pupil at Cromwell College, was on his early morning commute to work when he lost his life.

A Givealittle page created over the weekend in his name has raised more than $11,000 in two days.

Its purpose, to fund places for teenagers in the town on a defensive driving course run by local business Highlands Motorsport Park.

"While the family appreciate all the support shown through flowers, food and gifts, they would appreciate if instead please donate to this very worthy cause in support of our Cromwell youth drivers," the page says.

The fundraiser was set up by Cromwell resident Scott Sutherland on behalf of the family, and is supported by Josie Spillane, the chief executive of the motorsport park.

In a statement on the page, Ms Spillane says the park offers "hands-on" driving courses that help Central Otago locals learn how to drive to the conditions and "expect the unexpected".

"Our hearts go out to the Stroud family and we are honoured to have been asked to play a part in honouring his memory, by working with the family to provide this experience for Cromwell College students."

Last week Cromwell College principal Mason Stretch acknowledged the person who died in the March 27 crash attended the school as recently as last year.

"Our sincere condolences are with their whānau and friends. Our staff, including our school counsellors, will be providing support for students who were close to this student."

Police have confirmed the victim died at the scene of the crash, which happened on State Highway 8 between Cromwell and Clyde at approximately 6.35am.

The crash involved three vehicles - two of them, trucks.

A section of highway around Lake Dunstan was closed for close to 10 hours as police investigations at the scene took place.

Otago Lake Central road policing manager Senior Sergeant Steven Watt says police have spoken with witnesses and continue to carry out vehicle examinations and make enquiries to determine what occurred.

No comment on the cause of the crash will be made by police until this process is complete, and this may take several months, he says.

Police encourage participation in driver training courses like those offered by Highlands.

"They are a great way to learn good driving habits and how to drive on the road safely."

The Stroud's fundraising page can be reached here.

Main image (Givealittle): Cromwell teen Kelan Stroud died in a crash on State Highway 8 between Cromwell and Clyde on the morning of March 27, 2024.

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