Eight-year-old killed in crash 'really put his soul into everything'

James Crous died after a road accident in Napier last Thursday. Photo: Basics4Life/Facebook
James Crous died after a road accident in Napier last Thursday. Photo: Basics4Life/Facebook

The seat in the church where little James Crous always sat remained empty on Sunday after a tragic road accident in Napier claimed his life last Thursday.

Special tributes have been paid by his church pastor and family friends across the world after the 8-year-old was killed when the car he was in crashed into a stationary vehicle at the end of a traffic queue.

Pastor Derik Kotze posted a touching message to the boy on the church Facebook page, Basics 4 Life, after Sunday's morning service.

"James, we missed you this morning at Church, but I'm sure you worshiped God together with us in Heaven today. Your seat was empty and you weren't there to help set the chairs or do your special job -- putting out the flags!

"See you one day again, in the meantime I know you will light up heaven with your amazing personality," wrote the family pastor.

The funeral for the youngster, described as a joy to his parents, will take place this afternoon at the Napier Christian Fellowship.

Mr Kotze said the Crous' were "a beautiful family" and James was friendly and always willing to help.

"He really put his soul into everything," he said.

James enjoyed football and loved Lego.

He was home-schooled and his father Ben Crous said his son was a joy.

The Crous family moved to New Zealand from South Africa nine years ago and the congregation at their Taradale church, Basics 4 Life, was rallying around them during this difficult time.

Mr Kotze said James' parents were heart-broken but within their faith they could see hope and peace.

The church community was organising dinners for the family to support them.

He thanked the community for their kind messages and help during this time.

James was travelling in a car on State Highway 2B when it crashed into a stationary vehicle at the end of a queue of traffic. Cars were banked up waiting for roadworks on Pandora Bridge on the highway between Prebensen Rd roundabout and the Hawke's Bay Airport.

Police said the youngster was wearing a seatbelt.

Candles, flowers and a teddy bear had since been placed at the crash site.

His mother and younger sister were taken to hospital after the crash but were discharged a day later.

Since the fatal smash, a number of locals had raised concerns about lack of signage in the area warning motorists of the temporary 30km/h zone.

Mr Walker told Hawke's Bay Today that apart from Thursday's fatal crash, there had been no reported crashes in the area since the roadworks started.

"We have not been made aware of any near misses, and the contractors on site have not raised any concerns," Mr Walker said.

He said NZTA took crashes in areas of roadworks sites very seriously and the agency's safety team would be reviewing the State Highway 2B site.

The police serious crash unit was also investigating.

In the meantime, extra signage would be put in place to alert motorists to potential delays and give the option to consider alternative routes.

- NZ Herald

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