Fatal crash, fire in a landfill, and minor crashes keep emergency services busy

Worksafe has been notified of a fatal crash that killed 37-year-old David John O’Sullivan of Crownthorpe on Friday.

O’Sullivan died following a crash on SH50, Maraekakaho, on Friday just after 6pm and following his death, tributes flowed online.

“It was a real honour to call you a mate, you will be sorely missed,” said one.

“My bro, you can be with your darling now. RIP mate. xxx,” said another.

A local trucking company paid a tribute to O’Sullivan on the company’s Facebook page.

“Words cannot describe the loss we all feel. It is with great sadness we come to grips with the loss of one of our own,” it said.

“Stretch (David O’Sullivan) was an incredible operator with an attention to detail that could rival the cleanliest person out there.

“Washing and polishing skills that could bring magpies from districts away, loyal friend and all round top bloke. He has left an everlasting impression on those who worked with him, knew him or had the pleasure of meeting him.

“We take this time to reflect on the laughter, happiness, knowledge, sweet treats, the hard times and the good times we have shared with him as a team and as individuals. We take solace in knowing Kirsty will be with him and how happy he will be to be reunited again.

“Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and our colleagues during this difficult time.

“Fly high Stretch. Your shift is over and we thank you for everything.
We love and will remember you now and always. Kia Kaha.”

Police said initial indications were that Sullivan may have been unloading equipment from another truck when the collision occurred.

The incident happened about 6pm on a stretch of the highway from the intersections of Glencoe Station Rd and Creek Rd, between Tikokino and Maraekakaho.

The stretch of highway was closed to traffic through Friday night and on Saturday for both clearing of the scene and the police crash investigation, but detours were available.

It was not until 3.45pm on Saturday that police reported the road had been reopened.

According to Ministry of Transport online statistics, the nationwide road toll for 2021 was 148 at midnight on Thursday. It compared with 173 in 2019 and 125 to midnight June 10 last year.

In the police Hawke’s Bay area (Napier, Hastings and Central Hawke’s Bay) there had been seven fatalities in the January 1-June 10 portion of 2019, and eight in the same time span last year, while Friday night’s tragedy was thought to be the seventh fatality on Hawke’s Bay roads this year.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing and police would like to speak to anyone who may be able to assist.

Anyone who saw an articulated truck and pilot vehicle in the area of SH 50 between 5.30pm and 6.15pm on Friday June 11 is asked to get in touch.

Police said their sympathies were with his family.

You can phone police on 105 and quote file number 210612/9336.

Meanwhile, Fire and emergency services were also kept on their feet in Hawke’s Bay over the weekend.

A fire at Waipukurau landfill on Friday night lasted nearly eight hours, a spokesman said.

The incident was reported at 8.45pm and the fire was extinguished at 4am.

“It had gone to second alarm level,” he said.

“It required three fire trucks, four tankers, a command unit and two rural trucks.

“Thankfully it was only rubbish on fire but that can take a while to extinguish.”

On Saturday the emergency services were called to four minor car accidents.

The first occurred in Hastings at 12.31pm, on Avenue Rd West, and Market St North. There were no injuries, and no road blockages.

The second occurred on State Highway 50 at Maraekakaho, the second crash to occur on the highway including Friday night’s fatal.

The spokesman said it was a car accident in a paddock off SH50, and was reported at 2.30pm.

There were no reports of injuries.

A single car crash at Swamp Rd, Fernhill, at 4.03pm, also resulted in no injuries.

“We assisted with scene protection, no one was trapped,” the spokesman said.

An empty car following a crash at 10.30pm was also attended to by fire and emergency services at Pakowhai Rd.

“When we got there, there was no one there. The car hit a fence and they did a runner.”

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