In­quest starts into Atawhai road death


A hus­band told how he saw the ‘‘flash’’ of a mo­tor­cy­cle as it struck his wife as they crossed a Nel­son road, leav­ing her with fa­tal in­juries.

Christchurch man Bernard Scott gave ev­i­dence to a Nel­son in­quest yes­ter­day about the death of his wife Alethea.

Scott, 79, died in Christchurch several weeks af­ter be­ing struck by a mo­tor­cy­cle about 6.15pm on Thurs­day April 14, 2016.

She and her hus­band had been cross­ing Atawhai Drive near Bayview Rd, to get to their car­a­van.

Coro­ner David Robin­son is con­duct­ing the in­quiry, held in the Nel­son court­house, to es­tab­lish the cir­cum­stances that led to the col­li­sion.

Robin­son said the is­sues to be ex­am­ined in­cluded road con­di­tions, the vis­i­bil­ity of the cou­ple, their wis­dom to cross when and where they did, and the role of mo­tor­cy­clist Joshua De La Cour.

The coro­ner would look at whether De La Cour, who was 20 at the time of the in­ci­dent, should have seen them ear­lier, whether there was any inat­ten­tion on his part, and if he had op­por­tu­nity to stop or had other means of avoid­ing them.

He would also con­sider is­sues re­lated to the road it­self, in­clud­ing the speed limit and crash his­tory.

Bernard Scott told the in­quest that he had been cross­ing with his wife, who was just be­hind him, when a mo­tor­cy­cle came out of nowhere and struck her.

He said he had seen no traf­fic com­ing for at least 100 me­tres in ei­ther di­rec­tion.

He said he’d seen a ‘‘flash’’ of a mo­tor­cy­cle as the col­li­sion hap­pened and then saw his wife ly­ing ‘‘in a heap’’ in shin­gle at the side of the road.

De La Cour told the court he’d seen the cou­ple cross­ing the south­bound lane but had thought he would be past them be­fore they reached his north­bound lane.

He said he’d then been ‘‘sur­prised’’ to see them ap­pear to run from the me­dian strip and he’d braked hard to avoid hit- ting them, but had struck Mrs Scott.

The court also heard from wit­ness Chris West who had been trav­el­ling in the south­bound lane.

He said the pair had been on the foot­path and he’d seen them start­ing to cross in front of him, and had to brake to avoid hit­ting them.

He’d put a ‘‘de­cent foot on the brake’’, not to the point of his anti-lock brak­ing sys­tem kick­ing in, but ‘‘a few sec­onds of good solid brak­ing’’.

He re­called see­ing the cou­ple speed up when they got to the mid­dle of the road but hadn’t seen the col­li­sion hap­pen.

How­ever, Scott said he and his wife didn’t run, but it may have ap­peared his wife had been mov­ing more quickly as, be­cause she was short, she had to take several steps to ev­ery one of his.

Sup­ported by two of his daugh­ters in court, Scott said his wife of 59 years had been a ‘‘good lady’’, a friend to every­one, and he just wanted the facts of the in­ci­dent to come out as best they could so the fam­ily could move for­ward.

The in­quiry will also look at po­lice pro­ce­dure re­lated to the find­ings of the in­ci­dent, and whether the lack of at­ten­dance by the Se­ri­ous Crash Unit (SCU) could have af­fected the reli­a­bil­ity of the traf­fic crash re­port. The SCU was not called ini­tially as, at the time of the in­ci­dent, it was not thought Mrs Scott’s in­juries would re­sult in her death.

The in­quest con­tin­ues.


Ros Pochin and Paul Hamp­ton will be show­ing off some new moves in the Nel­son Tas­man Hospice Danc­ing for a Cause event.

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