Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Toddler dies after being struck by 'multiple vehicles' on State Highway 25

The mother of an 18-month-old boy who died after being hit by a car outside their home was busy making school lunches, when he snuck out the ranch slider.

The boy's grandfather, who did not want to be named, said the boy has then walked up the short section of gravel driveway and then walked into the path of a car being driven along State Highway 25, at Waitakaruru, west of Thames, at 6.40am today.

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The Waikato police serious crash unit have finished their investigation into the horrific incident which claimed the toddler's life.

Family and friends this afternoon remembered an inquisitive little boy who had "the most gorgeous blue eyes".

The grandfather said contrary to speculation, the boy's father was not in the house at the time, rather was working in the milking shed.

"The mother was inside cooking the children's breakfast while her partner was outside milking...and (toddler) has gone straight out the ranch slider and out here (onto road)."

The grandfather said the mother was already feeling bad enough without seeing reports on social media that the couple were inside the house at the time and somehow let their child outside.

The grandmother said it didn't take long for a toddler to make their way from A to B.

"He just escaped out the ranch slider. It takes two seconds for a little boy to get out ... He had just learnt to walk, too," she said.

The couple had lived in Waitakaruru for a while and their other children - aged 6 and 7 - had attended the local school.

The grandfather said although the boy was only 18-months-old he would prefer to analyse his surroundings than play with his toys.

"He was an inquisitive little fulla and always wanted to know why, say, that tree was green. He wouldn't play with his toys, he would start pulling at (the tree), and he just obviously walked out the gate and got hit."

He said he and his wife had been at their daughter's house since 7.30am today, after hearing the news.

Waikato police Senior Sergeant Stephen Ambler earlier told the Herald the incident was an "absolute tragedy" and particularly raw and a "nightmare" for the parents.

Waikato police Senior Sergeant Stephen Ambler. Photo / Belinda Feek
Waikato police Senior Sergeant Stephen Ambler. Photo / Belinda Feek

"The child has exited a house bordering SH25 and has walked into the path of an eastbound motor vehicle and as a result suffered fatal injuries."

He declined to confirm how many vehicles were involved but the Herald understands there were multiple vehicles on that stretch of road at the time.

The school's principal said they had been "pretty rattled" by the death and declined to comment further.

The Ministry of Education traumatic incident team had just arrived at the school, he said.

Tejinder Kaur, Waitakaruru Country Store owner said the parents worked on a dairy farm and were working at the time.

Another neighbour was still visibly shaken by what she had seen and said it wasn't a very nice scene.

Tejinder Kaur, and mum Surinder Kaur, of the Waitakaruru Country Store owner are saddened by the toddler's death. Photo / Belinda Feek
Tejinder Kaur, and mum Surinder Kaur, of the Waitakaruru Country Store owner are saddened by the toddler's death. Photo / Belinda Feek

The New Zealand Transport Agency posted a tweet advising State Highway 25 had been closed to all traffic at Waitakaruru.


- NZ Herald

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