A veteran council tractor driver involved in the "terrible
accident" which resulted in the death of a 4-year-old boy has
been left traumatised and distraught.
The boy is thought to have been with his older cousins at
Kirkpatrick Park in Hastings while a council tractor towing a
lawn mower cut the grass. He was hit by the mower and died at
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said the senior driver and his
wife were "very distraught" by the boy's death.
"He has been a tractor driver with the council for 13 year
and is one of our senior drivers. He and the rest of the
council staff are just devastated."
Police, the council and the Ministry of Business, Innovation
and Employment's labour department have all launched
investigations into the death, which is also expected to be
the subject of a coroner's inquest.
Sergeant Ray Kirkby said the mover was doing a forward run
when the boy came towards it on an angle and was hit.
The driver stopped immediately but there was nothing he could
do and the boy died at the scene.
Mr Kirby said his family were "devastated", as was the
"It's been very tragic for everyone who was involved,
especially for the family. Our condolences go out to them."
The boy's family were rallying around one another to cope
with their grief, and Victim Support had also been engaged.
Mr Kirkby would not comment on whether anyone was likely to
face charges over the death.
"We have formulated plans for the enquiry phase of the
investigation, which will involve more interviews," he said.
"The investigations will determine the series of events which
led up to this terrible accident."
The boy's funeral is expected to be held on Friday.
Police said last night they would not be releasing the name
of the boy until all family members had been notified.
Mr Yule said council had decided to begin its own
investigation into the tragedy, which will be conducted by a
person independent of the council. He said police and council
were fully cooperating in their inquiries.
"We will launch our own investigation, principally to look at
any procedures that may need to be improved on, so we can
prevent anything like this happening again.
"Often police and government investigations can take some
time, so we will carry out our own investigation to determine
if we can to anything in the interim."
Mr Yule said he had "no real picture" of how the boy came so
close to the tractor-mower or the events leading up to the
- Sam Hurley of Hawke's Bay Today and Matthew Theunissen