Widow wants an­swers on crash

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Call­ing the Macken­zie Dis­trict Coun­cil of­fice where Hor­mann worked yielded no re­sults, and she was poised to call po­lice when an of­fi­cer and her hus­band’s boss knocked on the door.

‘‘They didn’t tell me Greg was dead. I could see it on their faces,’’ she said.

Van Has­sel ‘‘des­per­ately’’ wanted to know her hus­band had not died slowly in his crushed car, and was re­lieved to learn he had not suf­fered.

She was spared from need­ing to iden­tify him and said she was ad­vised ‘‘not to see him, to re­mem­ber him how he was’’ – ad­vice she took.

When it came to light Hutchi­son had metham­phetamine and cannabis in his blood and had crossed the cen­tre line af­ter fall­ing asleep, van Has­sel was shocked.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant for me and Greg that the cause of this ac­ci­dent is ad­dressed and that pre­cau­tions are im­ple­mented to keep dan­ger­ous peo­ple off our roads,’’ she said.

‘‘I feel com­pa­nies that em­ploy driv­ers should take more re­spon­si­bil­ity for the peo­ple they’re put­ting on the roads.’’

It was ‘‘ironic’’ Hor­mann was killed in a crash con­sid­er­ing how ‘‘safety-ori­ented’’ he was, she said.

‘‘He was very con­scious of our roads and the in­creas­ing vol­ume of traf­fic car­ry­ing freight.’’

Van Has­sel de­scribed Hor­mann, who she was mar­ried to for four years, as ‘‘larger than life’’.

‘‘He never hes­i­tated and grabbed every op­por­tu­nity he could.’’

The cou­ple em­barked on nu­mer­ous tramp­ing and cy­cling ex­pe­di­tions – a trip to Brit­tany in France was van Has­sel’s favourite be­cause Hor­mann also ticked driv­ing a Ger­man BMW on the open au­to­bahn off his bucket list.

Six months af­ter her hus­band’s death, van Has­sel car­ried his ashes 815km across the top of Spain on the Camino de San­ti­ago pil­grim­age.

They had be­gun plan­ning their Chrissy van Has­sel trip to Spain a few days prior to Hor­mann’s death, af­ter a friend dropped off an in­vi­ta­tion for a wed­ding in the Euro­pean coun­try.

‘‘Peo­ple say we packed more into six years than they could in a life­time. I am very, very thank­ful for that,’’ she said.

‘‘While it may not have been as long a time as I would have liked, it was cer­tainly qual­ity time.’’

The sup­port of the Fair­lie com­mu­nity had ‘‘made this past year just that lit­tle bit eas­ier to deal with’’, van Has­sel said.

A bou­quet of flow­ers from the ‘‘Fair­lie an­gels’’ had even been left on her doorstep when she re­turned from see­ing Hutchi­son sen­tenced.

‘‘The sup­port that I’ve had has been un­be­liev­able, even from peo­ple I don’t know par­tic­u­larly well.

‘‘It blows me away that such a small com­mu­nity can have such a strong heart.’’

Van Has­sel’s last cor­re­spon­dence with Hor­mann was send­ing him a text re­mind­ing him to feed the lambs. He left a voice mes­sage to say he hoped they could sur­vive un­til lunchtime, as he was busy un­til then.

‘‘I wish I rang him back, then I could have de­layed him even for just a few sec­onds,’’ she said.

‘‘It does weigh on my mind.’’


Chrissy van Has­sel is thank­ful for the six years of many ad­ven­tures she had with her late hus­band. Be­low, the crash scene near Lake Tekapo

Greg Hor­mann

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