Woman killed by reversing car named

By Genevieve Helliwell

1 comment

An elderly woman killed by a reversing car is the latest victim in a spate of accidents involving pedestrians in the Western Bay.

In Otumoetai yesterday, emergency services rushed to Windsor Rd after Velma Rereao Zandstra, 84, of Tauranga, was hit by a car that was reversing out of a residential drive at about 11am.

Mrs Zandstra had been walking by herself on the footpath, heading from the Bellevue direction towards Otumoetai College.

The section of road between Canberra Pl and Anne Rd was blocked for several hours.

Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said it was too early to say whether any charges would be laid against the driver.

"The driver was female. I don't believe she was speeding down the driveway; she was not going particularly fast as she was reversing," he said.

"After it happened, as I understand, the driver got out and assisted the victim."

Windsor Rd residents did not see the accident but heard sirens approaching.

"I heard sirens in the distance then they must have turned them off as they got closer because when I looked outside I realised the police were outside," one neighbour said.

Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said the residents of the house where the accident happened were quiet and "kept to themselves".

Since September 4, there have been eight accidents where pedestrians had been hit by cars, including yesterday's fatal. Four of the accidents involved children.

"Over that short space of time, that's a significant number," Mr Campion said.

He issued a warning to pedestrians, drivers and cyclists on Western Bay roads.

"Pedestrians need to be aware of their surroundings and the situations that can arise and understand the potential risk from vehicles, whether they're coming out of a driveway or going through an intersection - areas where there may be poor vision," he said.

"On the flipside, drivers need to make sure they take extra care and identify the potential hazards around pedestrians and hazards on the road," he said.

"Particularly at traffic lights when there is a pedestrian phase, drivers need to take extreme care because pedestrians are known to dash across the road at the last minute."

Mr Campion said all road users, including cyclists, needed to use appropriate parts of the road to minimise the potential for accidents. 

- Bay of Plenty Times

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