Van found still in drive after crushing and killing woman, inquest hears

6:02 pm on 16 January 2023
Outside the Auckland Distrcit Court in the central city.

The inquest into Krasimira Kraleva's death was held at Auckland District Court. Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

A runaway van was found still in drive after crushing a woman and killing her.

Krasimira Kraleva was fatally injured when her unparked company van rolled backwards and trapped her underneath in October of 2020.

Her husband, Svetlozar Kraleva, said he had been awaiting an inquest ever since.

"It's been quite long," he said.

"It's about two and a half years. I found it quite difficult for me and for my family without answers for so long."

The 52-year-old mother worked as a style consultant for Russell's Curtains and Blinds, and was visiting a client in West Auckland's Massey when tragedy struck.

The client told the coroner that he heard a scream and saw the van crash into a nearby fence, before he discovered Kraleva under the vehicle.

Emergency services responded shortly after, but were unable to save her.

Senior constable Gary Abbott, who examined the scene, said the van was still in drive, and the handbrake was off. An expert also determined the handbrake was not faulty.

Svetlozar Kraleva said the death of his wife had a profound impact on himself and his two children.

"I had just prepared dinner, and she didn't make it home," he recalled.

"I still don't have answers [to] what happened, what caused the death of my lovely Krassy."

When he called his wife, Svetlozar Kraleva heard an unfamiliar voice.

"Somebody said, 'We're the police, we have to talk,' so I waited for them to arrive," he said.

"It took about four and a half hours, up until the moment the police arrived I was in shock."

Svetlozar Kraleva said he visited the scene multiple times and studied the incident in detail.

He stood before three witnesses, with a list of questions he had been preparing for years.

But as he left Auckland District Court, he said he felt unsatisfied.

"I'd like to have answers, and I still don't have them." he said.

"I will keep searching."