Stepmum 'knew he'd died instantly'

Last updated 12:12 12/10/2012

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The stepmother of the man who died in a car crash stayed with his body as it lay on the street for two hours, and says she knew he was dead straight away.

Robert "Rob" Bruce Richardson, 28, died at Crewe Cres in Palmerston North on Wednesday after leaving his father and stepmother's address further up the street.

The serious crash unit is still investigating, but Palmerston North acting Senior Sergeant Phillip Ward said it appeared he drove straight through a roundabout at the intersection of Ross and Bolton places, causing the car to roll and crash into a parked car.

Richardson was thrown from the car and died at the scene.

Speed is believed to be a factor in the crash.

Richardson's father and stepmother told the Manawatu Standard they received his autopsy report yesterday morning, which said he had died of head injuries after the car rolled on him.

His stepmother of 14 years, who did not wish to be named, said she wished to thank the neighbours who had come to their assistance, even though they had only been living in the street for just over a month.

"I just wanted to thank the people in the Hokowhitu community who came together during the whole process of the ordeal."

She said they, along with her daughter - Richardson's stepsister, heard the crash from their house, and rushed out to see what had happened.

A visitor to their new home, Richardson didn't know the road and wouldn't have known there was a roundabout there, she said.

Richardson's father and a neighbour, Deanne, a student nurse, tried to resuscitate him, but they knew he had died instantly from the nature of his injuries, she said.

The stepmother sat with him until his body was taken away.

He was on the road for a long time, she said.

"Seeing him, being with him lying there on the road for two hours with no shirt on, it's a shame we couldn't have had a blanket over him."

He was both a Levin and Whanganui man; having been born in Palmerston North, he lived in Levin until he was 13 and moved to Whanganui.

Since then, he had moved back to Levin, and had children, she said.

A funeral service for Richardson will be held on Tuesday.

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- Manawatu Standard

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