Van driver involved in fatal crash allegedly wanted for burglary

Clint Hoeben, 48, died shortly after being struck by a van while out cycling with his daughter in...
Clint Hoeben, 48, died shortly after being struck by a van while out cycling with his daughter in North Canterbury. Photo: Givealittle
A van driver out during the coronavirus lockdown was allegedly wanted for burglary when he hit and killed a father cycling with his daughter, it's been reported.

Clint Hoeben was out for a bike ride with his 14-year-old daughter Tara when he was struck by a vehicle on Oxford Rd in Fernside, North Canterbury, about 12.40pm last Thursday.

The driver of the van was James Solvander who was wanted by police for burglary at the time, Stuff reported.

Solvander appeared before Judge Jane Farish at Christchurch District Court on Friday on one charge of burglary. He is due back in court on April 20 – but has not yet been charged over the crash.

Stuff reported it's understood he was not an essential worker and that he refused to tell police why he was driving during lockdown.

Solvander's father, Pete Solvander told The Press his son had a "perfectly legitimate reason" for being on the roads during lockdown.

"My understanding is the law says you're allowed to have contact with one other person that is a significant person. That's my understanding that James was just exercising his right to do that," he said.

"He was alone in the vehicle, he wasn't travelling with anyone else. He was visiting a person who was close to him, a friend."

Family and friends have been rallying around the Hoeben family, including 7-year-old son Cameron who had reportedly earlier gone out with a bike ride with his dad that morning.

Among those offering support are members of a dog community that Hoeben was involved with and who have set up a Givealittle page to help the Hoebens.

It's already raised nearly $35,000.

The father-of-two was said to have a great passion for dogs and was heavily involved with the community; as president of the Mainland Staffordshire Bull Terrier Society and the vice-president of Dogs New Zealand.

Hoeben was also a member of the NZ Dog Judges Association.

"Clint made an incredible contribution to the Stafford community and the dog community worldwide," a message on the Givealittle page reads.

"Clint was an incredible friend, mentor and family man with a huge sense of humour and his loss is beyond measure to all those who knew him.

"His beautiful wife Charmaine, his children Tara and Cameron, his parents Lorraine and John and many, many friends."

The message acknowledges that because many of them will not be able to be there for them in person - because of the current Covid-19 lockdown - they created the page to help in that way.

"We have set up this page with all proceeds going to his children, whom he was very proud."

The North Canterbury Kennel Association has also paid tribute to the man who had brought his family to New Zealand, from South Africa, more than a decade ago for a better life.

"Clint's passion was his Staffies, but there was nothing in his life that surpassed his love of Charmaine and their children Tara and Cam," an online post read.

They ended it by simply describing him as "Clint - a real nice guy".

Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter