Mobility scooter crash victim: 'A friend to everybody'

By Myles Hume of the Ashburton Guardian -
Frank Tully died in Christchurch Hospital yesterday after being struck by a van while riding his mobility scooter over an Ashburton pedestrian crossing. Photo / Ashburton Guardian
Frank Tully died in Christchurch Hospital yesterday after being struck by a van while riding his mobility scooter over an Ashburton pedestrian crossing. Photo / Ashburton Guardian

An Ashburton pensioner struck and killed by a vehicle on a pedestrian crossing was on his way to buy lozenges for a sore throat.

Francis Brendan Tully, known to everyone as Frank, lived on his own but was known as "a friend to everybody''.

The 89-year-old died in Christchurch Hospital's intensive care unit yesterday after being struck by a van while riding his mobility scooter over a pedestrian crossing on Tinwald's main street on Monday.

The southbound van hit Mr Tully about 11.20am, coming to a stop 10 to 15 metres past the Archibald Street crossing.

Mr Tully was flown to Christchurch Hospital in a critical condition at midday on Monday, but died of his extensive injuries with family around him at 12.02am yesterday.

His death has been referred to the coroner, and yesterday Senior Sergeant Grant Russell, of Ashburton, said no charges had been laid but enquiries were ongoing.

Brother-in-law Tony Purcell, who is married to Mr Tully's sister Maureen, joined other family members at Mr Tully's Tinwald home yesterday.

He told the Guardian Mr Tully was a well known man about town, who had a strong Catholic faith.

"He lived on his own, never married or had any kids but he was a friend to everybody,'' he said.

Mr Purcell said the family had rallied round at the hospital from 2pm on Monday, and it was hard to see him go.

"All we know is he was going from where he lives to get some lozenges for a sore throat, but he got hit on the crossing,'' he said.

Originally from Rakaia, Mr Tully spent 40 years working as a linesman around the South Island, moving to Ashburton in the late 1980s, Mr Purcell said.

"He enjoyed his work and he was a great traveller too. He called a spade a spade and loved his trots and rugby,'' he said.

Mr Tully was a regular at the Holy Spirit Church in Tinwald where his funeral will be held on Saturday. He will then be buried at the Rakaia cemetery.

Mr Tully, one of six siblings, was survived by his sister Maureen Purcell and several nephews and nieces.

Mr Russell said police were continuing with investigations and the Serious Crash Unit and photographers visited the scene yesterday.

"We still have to speak to witnesses and establish what has gone on.''

Although it was still unclear what occurred in the final seconds before Mr Tully was hit, Mr Russell said it was vital pedestrians looked both ways and took extra care when crossing the road.

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