Jogger dies on street known for speed

By Chloe Johnson, Kirsty Wynn

Vehicle leaves road, hits jogger, and continues on to crash into house on street neighbours say is notorious for speed

Jo Mellow died at the scene, just 2km from her home. Photo / Marathon-Photos.com
Jo Mellow died at the scene, just 2km from her home. Photo / Marathon-Photos.com

A jogger has been crushed to death in a horror accident after being shoved into a house by an out-of-control 4WD.

Morrinsville nurse and mother Jo Mellow was struck by an Isuzu Rancho in the Waikato town just after 2pm yesterday.

Police said the vehicle left the road before hitting Mellow and continued on to hit a house in Seales Rd. Mellow died at the scene, just 2km from her home.

A lone woman occupant of the house was unhurt but highly distressed by the accident. It is understood the driver and a passenger escaped serious injury.

Neighbours said the road was notorious for speed. A Seales Rd resident said her fence had been hit by vehicles twice in the past 12 months. Her teenage sons heard yesterday's crash and walked out to see the car embedded in the kitchen. "It is not nice at all, they have seen the body on the lawn," the woman said.

The dead woman's husband, Shane Mellow, president of the Morrinsville Amateur Athletics Club, was too distressed to speak about the accident last night.

Jo Mellow is the daughter of Matamata-Piako district councillor Maurice Steffert.

"It's a very sad day. It is a tragedy," said fellow councillor Neil Goodger.

The accident on the speed blackspot came as government minister Peter Dunne spoke out against hidden speed cameras, saying they were a subterfuge aimed at making money.

Police have hit back, saying: "The aim of speed cameras is to get people to drive within the speed limit over the whole of their journey - not just in areas they think there may be police officers or speed cameras."

Though speed had been a factor in previous Seales Rd accidents, it was not clear last night whether it was a factor in Mellow's death.

Goodger said Seales Rd was usually a safe area for people on foot.

"I walk that block every day myself.

"It is the most walked route in Morrinsville, so I wouldn't say it was a speedster accident.

"My wife and daughter were walking the same route at the same time and were diverted."

Neighbour Vince Lyttle said it had been an upsetting afternoon.

"Things like this happen but it is not a nice thing to see. The car was wedged into the house. It is very sad."

Mellow was a keen runner who entered the Auckland half marathon last year and completed Hamilton's Round the Bridges events in 2006 and 2007.

She also managed her daughter's netball team at Morrinsville Intermediate.

Senior Sergeant Marc Hepworth, of Waikato Highway Patrol, said the driver hit the jogger before smashing into an occupied house on the corner of Seales Rd and North St.

Mellow died at the scene.

"As a result of the crash, the jogger is dead and the car has hit the house and there is extensive damage to the kitchen area of the house," Hepworth said.

A woman at the address was being comforted by victim support last night.

Jo Mellow wrote to the local paper, the Piako Post, last July of her pride in her local school after going to watch her daughter perform in the J Rock/Stage Challenge.

"I was very proud to be a Morrinsville supporter after seeing our local school do so well and become the overall winner."

The Isuzu Rancho 4WD was towed from the address last night and police were interviewing the driver and a passenger.

- Herald on Sunday

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