Arrests for theft after bus driver dies

BLAIR ENSOR AND JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 07:21 30/04/2012
Herman Curry
HERMAN CURRY: Was found dead in Lower Hutt.
Bus driver death
PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
BUS DEATH: The bus where the 64-year-old Epuni man was found has been cordoned off while the police investigate.

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A Lower Hutt bus driver with an "unforgettable" laugh had his cash box taken as he lay unconscious on the ground nearby.

Four young men turned themselves in to police yesterday over the theft of about $30, as the circumstances around the death of Herman Emanuel Curry became clearer.

A colleague found Mr Curry lying unconscious, with blood on his face, next to a petrol pump at the Waterloo bus depot about 10pm on Friday. Ambulance staff tried to save the 64-year-old, who had serious injuries to the back of his head, but he died at the scene.

Initial reports said Mr Curry was attacked, but police said yesterday there was no evidence of an assault and the cause of his death would not be known until they had further pathology results.

Two men - a 17-year-old and 20-year- old - have now been charged with theft of the cash box, containing about $30. Two teenagers, aged 15 and 16, were referred to Youth Aid after they went to police yesterday.

Acting Wellington district crime services manager, Detective Inspector Darrin Thomson, said the cash box was recovered and the four were arrested.

He could not say whether the young men had seen Mr Curry. "Preliminary results show [Mr Curry] did not die as a result of any substantial injuries."

A police team of about 30 would continue working on the inquiry.

NZ Bus chief executive Zane Fulljames said Mr Curry was a "very quiet man who used to laugh quite hard".

"Herman was a large part of the [NZ Bus] family. He was a generous, honest and caring man. It hits us so hard when a good man, just going about what he loved to do, came to work and he didn't go home."

Condolences were flowing to the Curry family yesterday.

Among those paying tribute on Facebook were Paese Leone Andersen Curry, who said: "I will always remember your laugh and your big smile."

Others described his "unforgettable" laugh.

Mr Fulljames is now calling for industry discussions about bus security and the handling of cash.

Since Mr Curry's death several drivers have spoken of their own fears for their safety and talked of previous cases of cash boxes being stolen.

 

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- The Dominion Post

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