1 Mar 2016

Patea 'in shock' over tanker crash driver's death

8:54 am on 1 March 2016

The Patea community has been further devastated with the death yesterday of a milk tanker driver involved in a triple fatality road crash last week.

The man was found dead at his home and his death has been referred to the coroner.

Fire engine north of Gisborne.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The Fonterra tanker he was driving collided with a car in the south Taranaki town's main street last Thursday, killing Chantelle Giles and husband and wife John and Cherylene Bayne. Both vehicles involved in the crash caught fire.

The tanker driver was treated in hospital for minor injuries.

Patea Community Board member Brian Rook told Morning Report the entire community would be affected by yesterday's death.

"Any fatal accident in a small town like Patea is horrific for the whole community.

"To have that accident happen and then have the poor truck driver ... I think the whole community is going to be in shock for quite some time."

Mr Rook said he felt for the families of those who died in the crash last week, and the tanker driver. "The poor man must have gone through hell in the past few days."

Fonterra released a statement following the man's death yesterday.

"It is with great sadness that we have received news of the death of one of our employees," the statement said. "Our priority now is supporting our people as they learn of the passing of a friend and colleague."

Mr Rook was certain the driver, like others involved in a road accident, would have been offered help.

"They're offered counselling, they're offered victim support, they're offered family support.

"We don't just leave people to go home and be on their own.

"Some people choose to go home and handle things themselves, but there would definitely have been people talking to him.

"I know the Hawera police would have made sure that he was very well looked after and given everything that he needed or he wanted."