5 Aug 2014

Man sought over highway death

6:26 pm on 5 August 2014

Police want to talk to a man who may have information about a collision which killed a Hawera woman.

Christine Fairweather, 57, was hit by an oncoming car just before midnight on Saturday after stopping to remove metal fencing frames that had been placed across State Highway 3 near Normanby in Taranaki, possibly as a prank.

Christine Fairweather.

Christine Fairweather. Photo: SUPPLIED

Detective Guy Jackson said police have received information about a man seen walking on the highway towards Hawera, between 11pm and 11.30pm that night.

Mr Jackson said police want to speak to him as he may have seen something which could help them, as well as any other drivers who drove down the highway about the same time.

He said the much-loved grandmother was doing a good deed when she died, unblocking the road to help other motorists. There was poor visibility at the time due to heavy rain.

Daphne Stratford, who lives close to the crash site, said she heard a lot of noise at the time of the crash.

"I heard a squealing of brakes and just thought it was some of the guys who get out late at night and tear up and down the road. I never gave it another thought."

Another person told Radio New Zealand News she heard a group of young men running from the scene at the time of the accident.

The driver of the north-bound vehicle which struck Mrs Fairweather was 'traumatised' by the incident, police said.

The driver, who has not been named, was trained in CPR and tried to revive Mrs Fairweather on the road, but she could not be resuscitated and was pronounced dead by emergency services at the scene.

Husband makes appeal

Christine Fairweather's husband John Fairweather on Tuesday made an emotional plea for those responsible to come forward, saying someone in the community must know who put the fence frames on the road.

"If it's a prank and a joke, it's cost a lot of people a lot of grief and we're devastated. I'll never be the same again," he told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme.

"I hope they're happy and I hope they've got enough guts to stand up and say, 'Hey, I did it'. They'll get a short sentence, I've got a life sentence, and so has Christine," he said, fighting back tears.

Those responsible should think carefully about the consequences of their actions, he said.

"They've got no idea of the grief ... the grandkids are gutted, everybody is. Her family are coming from Australia and all over New Zealand and nobody can believe it has happened. They've ruined people's lives and they took one of the nicest ladies in this world out with it."

Mrs Fairweather died on her way home from baby-sitting grandchildren. Her husband said she was always helping others, volunteering at the local hospice shop and looking after friends and family.

"Christine being Christine, she'd do anything for anybody. She'd been thinking of other people's safety ... she tried to remove it [the fence frames] ... I don't know how she didn't see or hear anything coming ... and unfortunately it was the biggest mistake she ever made. I lost the love of my life," he said.

Tributes and condolences have been flooding Christine Fairweather's Facebook page, with friends and relatives expressing shock at her sudden death.