Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Roadside tragedy: tributes flow

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"REALLY LIKEABLE": Kenny McCrae was tragically killed in a roadside accident on Friday. Photo/Supplied.
"REALLY LIKEABLE": Kenny McCrae was tragically killed in a roadside accident on Friday. Photo/Supplied.

Tributes are continuing to flow from grieving family and friends of the Tauranga man and the woman who died following a roadside accident on Friday afternoon.

The accident happened at 4.15pm on State Highway 29A between Baypark and Maungatapu, as Kenny McCrae and one of his best mates were standing on the roadside changing a tyre on the dead woman's vehicle, when the trio were hit by another car.

Police are yet to officially release the woman's name or that of her partner who was seriously injured and remained in Tauranga Hospital intensive care unit last night in a stable condition.

The injured man was due to undergo surgery to repair a fractured ankle.

Mr McCrae's brother Gavin Emeny, 61, of Pyes Pa, earlier said the family were absolutely devastated by the loss of Mr McCrae, who was affectionately known as "Woody". Family members and friends had rallied to support his wife Sharlene and daughter Ashleigh.

Mr McCrae is also survived by his other brothers, Howard, 63, and 62-year-old Ronald.
Tauranga Turners Auctions branch manager Carl Jarmin said he had known 52-year-old Mr McCrae for 16 to 17 years.

Mr Jarmin said Mr McCrae had worked for the firm for four years and only left in February to pursue other employment opportunities, and at the time of his death was working as a salesman at a business on Hewletts Rd.

"Kenny was a really great guy, really likeable and heaps of fun to be around. He would just light up a room when he walked in.

"He was always getting up to some kind of high-jinks, often with his best mate and they were always joking and laughing. Kenny was the sort of person who'd give you the shirt off his back like his brother Gavin said."

Mr Jarmin said because they all worked in the same industry, the injured man regularly visited the auction house.

"Kenny and his best mate were a very tight unit. I used to call the pair loveable larrikins."
Mr Jarmin said despite the double tragedy which had hit him hard, he had to work on Saturday.

"We all thought about what Kenny would have liked us to do. He was always such an enthusiastic seller, so 'sell, sell, sell' became our motto for the day. At the end of a busy day Kenny always liked to sit to have a cold beer, so that's what we did and held a toast for him. It's been a real shock," he said.

Mr Jarmin said the injured man's partner had been "such a lovely lady".

Close friend and neighbour Greg Ward said he had known Mr McCrae for 27 years, and first met Mr McCrae's injured best mate back in the 1990s when he undertook some repairs on a car.

Yesterday speaking from the McCrae's family home in Ohauiti, Mr Ward said.

"It's a been a very emotional few days for everyone who knew Kenny and the other families.

"I'm so shocked that Kenny isn't here anymore, and his act of kindness was so typical of him and his death has had a devastating effect on so many people.

"We were close friends as well as neighbours and regularly socialised together as well as being part of walking triangle. We were always in and out of each others houses and doing fun things together."

Mr Ward said the injured man is a really likeable, generous person, and his deceased partner's generosity was a close second.

"She was such a warm lovely lady. It's such a tragedy."

A close friend of the dead woman, who did not wish to be named, said:

"It's been a real shock to everyone. This was such a terrible accident, and I still can't believe it. My friend was a fun-loving lady, and so full of life and energy. She was a brilliant woman."

Mr McCrae was the son of the late Peggy Beryl Emeny and son-in-law of Evelyn and the late Neville Conway.

A funeral service for Mr McCrae will be held on Thursday at Ataahua Garden Venue, 644 Pyes Pa Rd, from 1pm on Thursday followed by a private cremation.

The injured man and his partner's families could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Acting head of Western Bay road policing Sergeant Wayne Hunter said the serious crash unit was continuing to investigate the exact cause of the crash and the inquiry would take some weeks to complete.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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