Mother wants good life for driver

By Jarrod Booker

Nayan Woods. Photo / Supplied
Nayan Woods. Photo / Supplied

A mother whose son died when he was struck by an out-of-control car does not want to see the 17-year-old driver dwelling on his mistakes.

Instead, she wants him to make amends by growing up to be a good father.

"We don't want this to be his defining moment in his life," Emma Woods said yesterday of Ash Austin's actions that killed her son Nayan, 4, and injured her and her other son Jacob, 6.

"He's young ... and he's got his whole life ahead of him. And we hope he will use it to do good things, and to be good with people. And maybe eventually to be a good father.

"We know that at some stage with the grieving process, there will be anger. But at this stage, we're not angry. It's just a tragic accident."

Mrs Woods was walking home from a Christchurch mall with her sons after a "perfect day" together last Friday, when Ash Austin's car came out of a side street, lost control and struck the trio on the footpath.

"For me, it doesn't feel too real yet. Because of the nature of the accident, the suddenness of it, I'm probably still processing that."

Mrs Woods immediately tried to perform CPR on Nayan, and Ash Austin rushed over and offered to take over.

"I think that when he offered, I didn't know he was the driver. But I don't think it would have mattered. Because I wanted somebody to try to help Nayan."

Police have yet to lay charges against Ash Austin, who is said to be distraught.

"I think that it would be different if he was racing a friend or he was drunk. But he wasn't," Mrs Woods said. "He was just a kid coming home from work and the road was slippery.

"He made a mistake maybe driving, I don't know, that's not for me to decide. I know that sometimes when I'm with the kids, I've maybe driven a bit too fast. Everybody makes mistakes when they're driving."

Mrs Woods described Nayan as gentle, caring and inquisitive. In his short life he had meant a lot to many people.

She urged all parents to make the most of whatever time they had with their children.

"The thing that I appreciate, looking back after losing him this way, is that there wasn't really any other time I could have spent with him. We were pretty inseparable. He was very cuddly, and he was my little sidekick."

Mrs Woods said Jacob was recovering well in hospital. She was sure he realised he had lost his younger brother and "best friend".

The Woods family had been overwhelmed with offers, many from strangers, of places to stay and vehicles.

Family from Canada are due to begin arriving today, and a funeral will be held for Nayan on Friday.

- NZ Herald

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