A Hawke's Bay family will cherish memories of their last Christmas with their mother and grandmother.
Frances Ada Burden, 87, died when her car and an approaching van collided in Napier Rd, Havelock North, about 3pm on Tuesday.
Son Stu Burden said the family were trying to cope with losing a "dearly loved member of the family" with whom they had recently shared Christmas.
Mrs Burden grew up in Hawke's Bay and had one son, three daughters and seven grandchildren.
"She was a wonderful woman - everyone is devastated about her loss, particularly her grandchildren who all adored her."
Witnesses saw a van, which was travelling south, cross the centre line before it crashed into Mrs Burden's Mazda Demio, which was heading north.
The crash happened in the 80kmh section of Napier Rd, just 100 metres north of the 50kmh zone.
The 20-year-old driver of the van was admitted to Hawke's Bay Hospital with a suspected broken leg, Senior Sergeant Greg Brown said.
A hospital spokeswoman said the man was in a stable condition.
The road, which was dry at the time, was closed for four hours while police examined the scene. Mr Brown said excessive speed and alcohol were not factors in the crash.
Serious Crash Unit investigators were looking at all aspects, including whether fatigue or distraction had contributed.
It was too early to say if charges would be laid, but it remained a possibility, Mr Brown said.
"It is an absolute tragedy that on a seemingly innocuous stretch of road that the absolute worst outcome has resulted."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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