Eaton's mates show support

By Doug Laing

Old school friends and rugby mates of Hawke's Bay halfback Chris Eaton have rallied around to prepare for the funeral of his wife Hannah, who died in a Thames Valley road accident at Easter.

While no details were available last night, they were expecting Mrs Eaton to be taken to the couple's home in Hastings and a service to be held at the weekend.

Mrs Eaton, 25, was the daughter of Dr Robert Stephens, who practices at the Central Hawke's Bay Health Centre in Waipukurau.

The Eatons had one child, 4-year-old Layla, who was not involved in the crash between Paeroa and Thames on Saturday night. Police said Mrs Eaton died in the 9.30pm smash at Puriri, 14km south of Thames.

She was driving north in a BMW when it was in a collision with an oncoming Ford Territory SUV, police said.

District Road Policing Manager Inspector Marcus Lynam, said initial investigations showed Mrs Eaton, who was heading north, failed to negotiate a slight bend and crossed the centre line, which led to a T-bone collision with the Ford.

Police returned to the scene of the accident yesterday to finish their crash investigations.

The driver of the Ford, a Waihi doctor who was seriously injured in the collision, expressed her condolences to the family. Tineke Iversen is recovering in Waikato Hospital.

Dr Iversen's husband, who was driving and was also injured in the crash, was treated and discharged.

Dr Iversen said: "Our condolences go to the family of Hannah Eaton who died at the scene. We have young children ourselves and so we know the heartache and sorrow her family must be feeling. We offer our best wishes and support to Hannah's family."

Mr Eaton heard of the death of Hannah as he prepared for his debut for the Western Force.

Mrs Eaton had just graduated as a midwife and was looking forward to moving with the former Hurricane and their daughter to support his new rugby career overseas.

Western Force teammates wore black armbands during Sunday's match, and All Blacks and former Hurricanes' teammates Piri Weepu and Victor Vito were among those to express condolences via Twitter.

Fellow halfback Weepu said: "My thoughts and prayers go out to you and Layla brother. Stay strong my mate. Words can never bring her back, but we here 4 you."

Eaton replied: "Thanks for the support. I love my wife so much it hurts. My angel Layla is my world and is the last thing holding me together. Love 2 all." Additional reporting APN

- Hawkes Bay Today

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