Widow wants answers on crash
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