Crash victim was father, valued worker

A trucking accident near Bluff yesterday claimed the life of a young father from Mataura.

Gary Botherway had worked for Hokonui Rural Transport, in Gore, since February this year.

The trucking company is a division of the HW Richardson Group.

HW Richardson Group chief executive Scott O’Donnell said Mr Botherway had a partner, ‘‘and a couple of kiddies’’.

He had a full training record, came from an agricultural background and had done ‘‘a good job’’ since he had started with the company, he said.

‘‘He was one of the stars really.’’

The group had a contract with Ballance to remove fertiliser off ships, Mr O’Donnell said.

Mr Botherway was carrying fertiliser on a late-model truck when the crash happened near Greenhills, just before 3.30am.

Hokonui Rural Transport manager Adam Waghorn had visited the family yesterday and they had been offered counselling and support.

Fellow staff members from Hokonui Rural Transport had also been offered counselling.

Mr O’Donnell said the company would complete a full investigation once it knew the results from the police investigation and had received the coroner’s findings.

Mr O’Donnell said it was a terrible situation.

‘‘We have a policy of get home safe,’’ he said.

‘‘That didn’t happen today.’’

State Highway 1 between Motu Rimu Rd and Omaui Rd was closed for just short of 12 hours as police carried out a scene investigation.

Yesterday’s fatal crash brought the number of deaths on Otago and Southland roads this month to four.

Charlene Hong Hue Phuong (23) and her mother-in-law, Fay Lesley Leota (44), were killed in a crash just south of Waihola, on State Highway 1, on Saturday morning.

Lewis Gibson (62) was killed in a crash involving a large truck, a ute and a car just south of Hawksbury on October 5.

While the Southern region has seen a spike in fatal crashes in October, accounting for one quarter of the year-to-date total of 17, road deaths are down from the 2020 year-to-date total of 26.

Ministry of Transport figures show there have been 13 road fatalities in Otago, down from 18 last year, and four in Southland, down from eight at this time in 2020.

Otago recorded its lowest crash toll for more than five years.

Senior Sergeant Nik Leigh said October’s spike was likely to be due to factors including warmer weather enticing people to travel, as well as coming out of restricted travel options due to Covid-19.

Almost all the region’s crashes were caused by the same factors

of ‘‘impaired driving, speed, distraction, unsafe driving behaviour [such as overtaking]’’, he said.

Crash hot spots included the northern and southern approaches to Oamaru, around Moeraki, the highways between Dunedin and Evansdale and Dunedin and Milton, and the northern and southern approaches to Balclutha.

As the weather continued to heat up, many people would be indulging at Christmas and New Year parties — a dedicated impairment prevention team had been established to ensure people were not drinking and driving.

Snr Sgt Leigh acknowledged people could become desensitised to safety messages.

‘‘Crashes aren’t things that happen to other people. There can be some level of complacency when you’ve been driving for 10, 20, 30 years, but it only takes one wrong move, especially on the open roads, to result in a fatality or injury.’’

For every fatality, there were seven people who were seriously injured, he said.

 

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