As Joy Bray ties a small bouquet of flowers to a pole at a busy intersection in Hamilton she observes several cars running red lights.

It's how her beloved youngest daughter Lynelle Bray was killed exactly three years ago, as she drove across the four-way Beerescourt intersection from Victoria St to Forest Lake Rd.

But despite being the third vehicle to cross the intersection following a green light, Lynelle's car was T-boned in the driver's side by a bus crossing the intersection from Te Rapa Rd to Ulster St.

The 46-year-old mother-of-two was taking a friend home on the afternoon of December 30, 2013, when the bus careened through a red light and collected the pair.

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Lynelle, who grew up in Taupo, was killed instantly and her friend suffered a badly broken arm.

The bus driver, Huntly woman Eva Tawha, was eventually convicted of careless driving causing death and careless driving causing injury.

She was ordered to pay $2000 reparation to the Bray family, complete 200 hours community service, and lost her licence for 18 months.

"That's what a life is worth," Joy Bray says.

Lynelle Bray with her dog Flynn before she was killed by a red light runner on December 30, 2013. Photo / Supplied.
Lynelle Bray with her dog Flynn before she was killed by a red light runner on December 30, 2013. Photo / Supplied.

The sudden and needless death of her daughter, and just days after Bray underwent heart surgery, has caused the 77-year-old immense and ongoing grief.

She and Lynelle's father, Bevan Bray, their eldest daughter and Lynelle's two children have "suffered terribly" since the crash.

"Her and I were really close. It's been pretty bad. She had two kids at the time, 17 and 20. The whole thing was pretty disastrous for us."

A restorative justice meeting with Tawha did nothing to ease to the family's pain.

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Today was the first time Bevan, 81, and Joy, who now live in Tauranga, had laid flowers at the scene for Lynelle on the anniversary of her death.

"We go [to Hamilton] around this time every year and this year we did it [laid the flowers] on the day, which we've never done so far because it's still pretty emotional.

"But we realise we've got to move on too and it's not getting passed it, it's learning to accept it. There's nothing we can do."

Bray says her daughter was always happy, full of fun and making people laugh.

"Her life was all about her children. She was a solo mum and a very good mother. Whatever she did she put 150 per cent into it."

Lynelle, a former hairdresser had just graduated from Waikato University in accounting and landed a new job she couldn't wait to start.

"She was 10 days away from starting her dream job. It was just everything she'd wanted."

The flowers for Lynelle Bray at the intersection in Hamilton where she was killed. Photo / Natalie Akoorie.
The flowers for Lynelle Bray at the intersection in Hamilton where she was killed. Photo / Natalie Akoorie.

Bray and her husband, former farm managers, said they wanted drivers to slow down at intersections and stop on an amber light instead of trying to sneak through as traffic lights turned red.

"We've sat at traffic lights and watched idiots hooning through red lights. If people only realise just how many deaths there are in a year from red light runners and how many major injury accidents."

She also urged responsible drivers to double check before moving forward from a green light.

"Take a couple of seconds ... that's all it takes and it could have saved my daughter's life."

The couple now have a dash-cam to record traffic and report irresponsible driving to police.

Bray will also speak at a road safety campaign in the Bay of Plenty next year.

For the next couple of days however the Brays will quietly grieve for their daughter and what should have been.

"We've got some lovely memories, we really have. We've got a lot to be grateful for. But we miss her like I don't know.

"It's just the worst thing that could happen to anybody and everybody that I've spoken to who has lost a child will tell you the same thing, that they never think it's going to happen."