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.