The family of a man killed in a single-vehicle crash at Maheno south of Oamaru on Sunday are mourning the loss of a "happy young man".
Dave Breyley, based in Oamaru, yesterday confirmed his stepson Rhain Watea Henry Bowsher (20) died when the northbound people mover he was driving left State Highway 1 near the south entrance to the North Otago township and went down a bank, leaving a trail of debris behind.
The badly damaged vehicle came to rest in a paddock about 10m-15m from the roadside shortly after 10am.
He and his wife, Sara - Mr Bowsher’s mother, were grief-stricken.
"He was just a wonderful son and we are sorry he has gone.
"He was a wonderful guy. Whenever he met people he touched and warmed the hearts of them. He was a happy young man. Respectful and polite."
Mr Bowsher, whom Mr Breyley said had been travelling and working around the South Island with the couple for several months — most recently fitting out Oamaru’s soon-to-open Mitre 10 Mega store — was born in Huntly and grew up in Te Awamutu.
Another relative of Mr Bowsher, who did not want to be named, said he was an only-child and his family was "so saddened" by the news of his death.
"We are totally shocked because he has only just turned 20 ... it’s just so sad. He was a happy-go-lucky young man."
They also felt for Mr Bowsher’s grandparents, who were based overseas and unable to support other family members, or farewell their grandson in person.
"We have spoken to Rhain’s grandfather and we are helping to support Rhain’s mum and stepdad during this sad occasion."
Sergeant Blair Wilkinson, of Oamaru, said police were working to establish the cause of the crash, which was being investigated by the Serious Crash Unit.
Waitaki District Council road safety co-ordinator Jason Evered issued a safety message to drivers.
He confirmed it was the third serious crash reported to him by police within the past week.
He implored drivers to take more care on all roads — sealed or gravel — no matter what the driving conditions or time of year.
"I think some people just don’t think it’s going to happen to them. I’m sure that person didn’t think it was going to happen to them. Unfortunately, accidents and crashes do happen."
Four people sustained minor injuries after a camper van rolled on State Highway 8, about 3km north of Omarama yesterday.