A Tauranga man killed in a final act of kindness was last night remembered as a "a good bugger who would take the shirt off his back to help anyone out".

Kenny McCrae, 52, died on Friday afternoon when a car crashed into him while he was changing the wheel on his best friend's partner's white SUV.

McCrae died at the scene and the woman died in hospital. McCrae's best friend was last night in hospital with serious injuries.

The accident happened at 4.15pm on Friday on State Highway 29A, between Baypark and Maungatapu.


McCrae's brother, Gavin Emeny, 61, of Pyes Pa said the family were "devastated".

"He would help anyone, he would often do good deeds, he was so well liked."

McCrae and his best mate were neighbours. On Friday afternoon, McCrae's neighbour received a call from his partner that she had a flat tyre on the shoulder of State Highway 29a, about 1km from Baypark Stadium. "Kenny said, 'Let's go and sort it out', and that's him all over."

The two men jacked up the wheel while the woman waved traffic past.

"The traffic was merging pretty well around them. The wheel was off, and they were just about to put the spare wheel back on and the traffic was merging into other lane, but one car did not see what was happening and it clipped all three of them."

Welcome Bay resident Gavin Harper and his business partner drove past the three people while they were changing the tyre just after 4pm on Friday.

Two people died and one was seriously injured after they were hit by a car on the side of the road in Tauranga. Photo / Andrew Warner
Two people died and one was seriously injured after they were hit by a car on the side of the road in Tauranga. Photo / Andrew Warner

Harper said he moved into the right lane to get around two cars parked on the shoulder.

"A few seconds later we realised how incredibly dangerous it was and called police comms."

Soon after he had been dropped home his business partner called.

"He said, 'Mate, I think something bad has happened.' He had just seen two ambulances driving back to the highway."

Harper said he felt gutted.

"It's a grim feeling. Horrible to know you just saw them to have something happen five to 10 minutes later."

McCrae of Ohauiti is survived by his wife, Sharlene, and stepdaughter Ashleigh, 22, and his brothers Howard, 63, Ronald, 62, and Gavin, 61.

"We are all supporting Sharlene and each other through this devastating time. Our heart goes out to the other families involved."

Emeny said his brother was a car salesman who changed his name by deed poll in 2004.

He was "the life of the party, always telling a joke, if there was a story to be told Kenny would tell it".

Police last night asked witnesses to call Senior Constable Paul Gunner on 07 577 4300.