James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

My son was wonderful - mum mourns crash victim

Rowan Humffreys died on Sunday morning 02 October 2011 when he was struck by a taxi in central Hamilton. Photo / Supplied
Rowan Humffreys died on Sunday morning 02 October 2011 when he was struck by a taxi in central Hamilton. Photo / Supplied

Rowan Humffreys had enjoyed a night out with some mates to farewell a friend who was moving to Australia when tragedy struck.

Mr Humffreys was walking across Thackeray St in central Hamilton when he was struck by a taxi and dragged a short distance about 3.30am on Sunday.

Medical staff from the nearby Anglesea Clinic ran to help and tried to resuscitate him but he died at the scene.

His death was the third pedestrian fatality this year in the central city, the fourth in Hamilton overall and the seventh in the Waikato.

Yesterday, his mother, Ann Humffreys, was mourning the loss of the youngest of her three children, who had just celebrated his 27th birthday.

She said he loved basketball and making coffee for friends.

He also played for an ultimate frisbee team and was a keen cyclist who would organise meets for his friends at the Hillcrest Velodrome.

"He was a funny, kind and wonderful person ... It's a very sad loss," she said. "He was good to everybody, was never critical and had lots of friends. He was very loved."

Mrs Humffreys said Rowan was in between jobs and trying to find work in the graphic design industry but, like many of his friends who had moved to Australia, was thinking of going there himself.

Rowan's funeral is likely to be held in Hamilton on Thursday.

Hamilton City councillor Dave Macpherson said the council was keen to have speeds reduced throughout residential and inner-city areas, especially as "lower speeds make accidents more survivable".

But he said it was hard to prevent clashes between pedestrians and cars on major connecting routes when alcohol was involved.

Mr Macpherson said the council was looking to extend the current 30km/h zone in the inner CBD and had recently agreed to introduce 40km/h residential zones on more than 100 Hamilton streets this month.

The move is aimed at protecting vulnerable road users and is part of the national demonstration project for safer speed areas.

"Ultimately, we want [the] whole city covered by lower speed zones except arterial routes," said Mr Macpherson.

Waikato road policing manager Inspector Leo Tooman said police would be placing special emphasis on driver compliance in the city but urged pedestrians to take measures to keep themselves safe.

"Several of our pedestrian deaths in the Waikato have happened at night and also involved victims who had been drinking. Not only do we need to avoid drinking and driving, we need to consider the wisdom of walking on the road after having a few drinks."

A Waikato Regional Council transport committee report showed that eight people had died on the region's roads since the committee's last report two months ago.

- NZ Herald

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