Father killed near Putaruru
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As the only breadwinner, Vithanage had stayed behind in Putaruru, working as a VTNZ vehicle inspector, until he could transfer to Queenstown.
‘‘I’m so sad. We are all crying because we all loved him - the whole community loved him,’’ Jinadasa said.
Vithanage was known for his loud voice and equally loud laugh.
When his family was farewelled in February, he played a devil in a skit, and had the crowd of more than 400 in stitches, Jinadasa said.
He was humble and kind-hearted, ready to lend a hand at society fundraisers, she said.
Once, when he was back in Sri Lanka for a holiday, he heard Jinadasa’s mother-in-law had died and drove 300km to attend the funeral.
Now, his wife and daughters are back in Hamilton and staying with friends while the Sri Lankan community helps with funeral arrangements and offers support.
They’re not sure if they want to go back to Dunedin, Jinadasa said.
Police said investigations into the cause of the head-on crash, which took place about 4 kilometres south of Putaruru, are ongoing.
Not long after 5.30pm on Thursday, Vithanage left his mate’s house and was heading home to Tokoroa when his car and another vehicle crashed head-on about 4 kilometres south of Putaruru.
Responding in the first fire truck out of Putaruru station was his friend ‘‘of many years’’, Putaruru Fire Chief Nathan Bennetto said.
‘‘The deceased was actually a very good friend of one of my firefighters.
Putaruru Fire Chief Nathan Bennetto said the crash between a smaller vehicle and SUV happened on a straight section of road approaching a left-hand bend.
The collision closed the road until 11pm on Thursday. Traffic was further hampered by a truck that rolled on the diversion route on Lichfield Road.
The Serious Crash Unit is investigating the circumstances surrounding the fatal crash.
Senior Sergeant Fane Troy said reminded all motorists to only drive when well rested. Catching up with friends for lunch at Sweet Rose Espresso has paid off for one lucky Tokoroa woman.
Julie Aerts was the winner of the first of four hampers being raffled to raise funds for Tokoroa barista Sjaan Sikking who is set to compete in Germany’s Challenge Roth triathlon in July.
Aerts said the win was unexpected.
‘It’s fantastic, I don’t usually win anything,’’ she said.
‘‘I go in almost every Thursday for lunch with a group of friends and we have got to know the staff so we all brought a ticket to show our support of them with something.’’
‘‘They are fantastic, it’s all about supporting Sjaan and winning has just been a bonus,’’ she said.
Another hamper raffle will be run throughout April.
But don’t be thinking just because you missed out on the first hamper that you’re completely out of luck as all the tickets from the March raffle will now go into the draw to win a Pavoni Stradivari coffee maker which is the same model that featured in James Bond Moonraker, a coffee bean grinder, and two bags of Otobahn coffee beans.
Tickets are $10 at the Bridge St cafe.