Fa­ther killed near Pu­taruru

South Waikato News - - Your Pa­per, Your Place - PHILLIPA YALDEN AND LIBBY WIL­SON

Con­tin­ued from p1

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.

Gamini Vithanage

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.