Fatal crash highlights rural road running risk

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 10:48 10/12/2012

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The death of a Marton man in a car crash has highlighted the dangers of running on rural roads, a coroner has found.

Truck driver Macrae De Thierry, 52, died when his car hit a power pole on Wellington Rd, south of the Rangitikei town, while driving home from work about 6.50am on July 6 last year.

Palmerston North coroner Tim Scott ruled the crash was caused by Marton lawyer and well-known runner Mark Richardson, who was running on the same side of the road towards De Thierry's car.

It was dark and Richardson was not wearing high-visibility clothing.

Scott said De Thierry saw Richardson at the last minute and swerved to avoid him.

"He swerved in a reflex action. He tried to correct by swerving again. He lost control of his vehicle, which struck a power pole."

De Thierry suffered fatal injuries and died shortly after.

Mr Scott said he did not believe running on rural roads was a safe practice, even in daylight.

"Mac's tragic and sad death has provided me with an opportunity to carefully consider the wisdom of running on rural roads. 

"I conclude that in most situations, it is simply inherently dangerous to do this."

The crash happened because Richardson was running on an unlit rural road and he should not have been there, Scott said.

Richardson did not try to avoid De Thierry, although doing this would have been difficult because of the narrowness and uneven banking on the side of the road, Mr Scott said.

"I suggest that Mark should seriously reconsider his running activity... from now on he should confine his running to within the township of Marton where it is possible for him to run on footpaths that are formed."

Mr Richardson did not want to comment on the coroner's findings.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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