Woman killed in smash was former restauranteur

By Alison King

The woman killed in a car crash on State Highway 2 near Te Puke on Sunday was the former owner of a Rotorua restaurant.

Dianne Royce Rickerby, 33, owned Rendezvous Restaurant & Bar on Hinemoa St. She was a mother of three and had just joined the staff at the new Mitre 10 Mega in the garden centre.

Her son, cut from the wrecked Honda Integra, is in a critical condition in Waikato Hospital. A teenager who was in the back seat is said to have injuries to his thumb and collarbone.

The two teenagers attend Western Heights High School.

Western Bay of Plenty head of road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said crash investigators were completing a scene survey and analysis.

Nigel Gregory, co-founder of Croucher Brewing, said last night he was "absolutely gutted" to hear of Ms Rickerby's death.

He and Croucher Brewing partner Paul Croucher ran the Underground Bar beneath Ms Rickerby's restaurant after she decided to remove pokie machines and replace it with a bar in 2009.

"Over the time I ran the bar I got to know her and her kids very well," Mr Gregory said.

"It's devastating. She was a young girl who had taken on a massive challenge running her own business ... at the same time she was juggling the care of her kids.

"The last time I spoke to her she had started at Mitre 10 Mega and she was really excited about it."

The crash happened just after 4pm on a corner of State Highway 2, east of Poplar Lane. It involved Ms Rickerby's silver Honda Integra, travelling towards Tauranga, and a silver Mazda people mover, headed towards Te Puke.

Two adults and two children were in the Mazda and one of those passengers was also from Rotorua. A 4-year-old in that vehicle broke an arm.

The Te Puke-Papamoa highway was blocked for three hours.

Mr Campion said police thanked members of the public who helped and comforted victims.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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