A man has told how he avoided a
vehicle that had crossed the centre line only to discover
minutes later it had ploughed into the car his wife was
driving, killing her.
Michael and Gaylene Grant, 51, from Puhoi, were travelling in
convoy to shift a caravan to their section further north for
the start of summer.
Speaking from the family home yesterday, Mr Grant described
Saturday's accident as senseless and said he wanted answers
as to what exactly had caused it.
"She was a mother and is going to be sorely missed," he said.
"[It is] such a tragedy that should never have happened. It's
a senseless taking of a life."
Mr Grant said he and his wife had been together since they
were 15. They had lived in Puhoi for 20 years, and had raised
three sons there.
Both were looking forward to a first grandchild, and a son's
wedding next year."[It has] destroyed someone's life for no
reason ... destroyed so many people's hopes and dreams. And
left a lot of people in shock."
Mr Grant was towing the caravan and his wife was in a station
wagon behind him when, about 2pm and just north of Whangarei,
an oncoming hatchback crossed the centre line.
The car hit the caravan and then Mrs Grant's vehicle, killing
her and the driver of the hatchback, Leonard Roderike, 54,
Police said they were
awaiting autopsy results and talking to people to help
establish what happened.
Sergeant Chris Goodall of the Northland police highway patrol
told the Northern Advocate the crash was an "absolutely
Driving conditions were good and the investigation's focus
was why Mr Roderike had crossed the central line.
"We are still looking into the cause of the crash, but early
indications are that [he] may have fallen asleep."
Mr Grant said the hatchback had been travelling about
"He just kept coming ... I
didn't see him hit my wife, I didn't know he had hit her," he
said. "Once I got [the caravan] back under control I went to
the side of the road and ran back and there she was.
"I was expecting him to be on the side of the road behind me,
but he was way up the road in the middle ... and she was off
to the side."
Residents and local fire officers were on the scene near the
small settlement of Kauri within minutes. The bodies of both
the victims had to be cut from their vehicles.
- by Nicholas Jones of
the NZ Herald