Police name four people killed in Ashburton crash

The four people who died in a horror crash near Ashburton last week have been named by police.

Sheryll Cairns, 66, Avinash Chand, 33, and Donald Wallace, 61, all of Christchurch, and Jonathan Campbell, 54, of Auckland, were killed after the van they were in crashed on Cochranes Rd near Ashburton about 9.30am.

The van driven by Chand is understood to have collided with a truck. The other victims were passengers in the van.

It is understood Chand was taking them to the annual Golden Guitar music competition in Gore.

Avinash Chand died in Friday's crash. Photo: LinkedIn
Avinash Chand died in Friday's crash. Photo: LinkedIn
Two other passengers and the driver of the truck were injured.

Police are still investigating the cause of the fatal crash but said it appeared the van had gone through a controlled intersection.

Ashburton Area Commander David Gaskin. Photo: George Heard / NZH
Ashburton Area Commander David Gaskin. Photo: George Heard / NZH
Area Commander Inspector David Gaskin attributed the "absolute tragedy" to "a moment of inattention".

Chand was an owner of Identity Tours and was transporting clients to the Golden Guitar music competition in Gore when the crash happened.

Chand's brother Visal earlier told the Herald his family was "so broken".

"We are trying to gain strength and trying coming to terms with what has happened to my brother who was so loved by family and friends."

He said his brother was born and raised in Fiji, in the Savutalele settlement in Suva.

Chand is survived by three siblings and his parents.

"Avi is widely missed," said Visal Chand, a Christchurch pastor.

"He was a much-loved nephew, cheeky cousin, cherished brother-in-law."

Many family members would not be able to travel to New Zealand for Chand's funeral, which was heartbreaking.

"My message to the drivers and community is that whatever type of vehicle you drive - please follow all road rules and signs.

"Respect all motorists - they may be someone's brothers or sisters or a loved person for someone."

Visal Chand also implored local authorities to do all they could to improve intersection safety.

Conditions at the intersection of the fatal crash as well as the presence and quality of road markings and signage will be part of the police investigation.

Visal Chand hoped his brother's death would push councils and roading authorities to enhance safety features at rural intersections where needed.

"It's truly heartbreaking to see poor road marks and signs on rural roads," he said.

"It claims so many lives… please do something about it - upgrade signs and check for any improvements necessary at least to prevent accidents."

One of the other victims, Campbell, had an intellectual disability and had been supported by IDEA Services for many years, Stuff reported.

He had been "incredibly excited" about his trip to the South Island to attend the Gold Guitar Awards music festival in Gore.








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