Family’s mission saves lives
A South Waikato family have made it their personal mission to save others from the fate that claimed the eldest son.
For seven years the Tirau family of four has refused to let the past rest - one tragic moment has had a lasting impact on them and they are determined to make sure it has not been in vain.
On May 15, 2009, Jordan Eastgate  hopped off a school bus in Matamata and inexplicably ran across the road to greet his waiting mother Mandie Roband. He was struck by a car and killed instantly.
‘‘I wasn’t fast enough. I saw the car coming the other way and there was a huge impact. He was thrown in the air like a rag doll and landed on the side of the road.’’
Younger brother Forde [now 15] was also there and said it was a hard moment to forget. Dad Grant Eastgate was on the other end of the phone to Mandie when the accident happened - waiting while she ensured the kids were safely off the bus.
‘‘I said just wait a second while I get the kids across the road and for some ungodly reason he decided to get out of the bus and run across the road.’’
She said they all get flashbacks about the day and it was a day the family [which also includes 18-year-old Caitlin] would always remember.
The serious crash unit decided that the bus was not completely stationary at the time of the accident so the 2okmh limit did not apply. Coroner Peter Ryan found there was some fault with both the driver and Jordan’s actions but no charges were laid.
However the family has not let the matter rest and feel that speed is a factor and that too many drivers do not know to slow down to 20kmh when passing a school bus, even on an open road.
They have had flyers and a billboard made up and push the message whenever they can, to whoever they come across.
When Grant - a truck driver - is out on the road, he always makes a point of warning other drivers about school buses.
Roband said some people blamed Jordan or her for the accident but he had been well trained in how to get on and off the bus.
Children were a poor judge of time and distance until their brains were fully developed well into their teenage years.
Roband said it was important people stick to the 20kmh speed limit.
‘‘Some people wither ignore the 2okmh law or they don’t know it.’’
‘‘I wasn't fast enough. I saw the car coming the other way and there was a huge impact. He was thrown in the air like a rag doll and landed on the side of the road.’’ Mandie Roband
Slow down says Forde Eastgate