Middle of road walk a killer

UNAVOIDABLE: Levin man Darin Robert Hunt died when he was struck by a taxi on New Year's Day.
UNAVOIDABLE: Levin man Darin Robert Hunt died when he was struck by a taxi on New Year's Day.

The partner of a man killed walking home on New Year's Day said he did the right thing, just in the wrong place.

Father of two Darin Robert Hunt, 29, was hit by a taxi when walking along Hokio Beach Rd at about 2.15am on Tuesday morning.

His partner Maria Vantuel said Mr Hunt had walked home after nights out before when he could not get a lift with someone.

On New Year's Eve the couple had spent the evening together at their rural property before Mr Hunt headed into Levin. Ms Vantuel stayed home to look after their two-year-old son.

"He went out and got on the piss on New Year's Eve.

"He did the right thing by walking home, unfortunately he was walking in the middle of the road."

Ms Vantuel said Mr Hunt was a great character.

"He was a colourful bastard and he will be sorely missed."

A self-described "self-employed entrepreneur", Mr Hunt always had time for people, she said.

"He would do anything for anyone."

Ms Vantuel said her partner loved being in the newspaper, even if it was for being on the wrong side of the law.

In 2007, the Palmerston North District Court heard that Mr Hunt had accumulated $140,000 of fines while on his learner driver's licence.

Mr Hunt managed to rack up $8360 in fines in one day, which saw him sent to jail in 2001.

In 2003, he was given 400 hours of community work - the maximum possible - in exchange for the wiping of $54,000 in fines.

Before his 2007 court appearance, he told the Manawatu Standard he was looking to change his ways as racking up fines had lost its appeal for him.

Ms Vantuel said Mr Hunt ran up such a high number of fines to show how "backwards" the system was.

She said he believed it was unfair to those who paid their fines that others could collect large bills that were then "wiped" by the courts.

Detective Darcy Parke, of Levin police, said many witnesses had come forward and filled in some gaps about what had happened leading up to Mr Hunt's death. He had been drinking and then went to walk from McKenzie St to his home in Hokio Beach Rd. He died about four kilometres from his house.

Mr Parke said a post mortem examination was yet to be carried out.

While witnesses had laid out how the night probably went, none saw Mr Hunt die, Mr Parke said.

"Not even the (taxi) driver and passenger saw him.

"They said they saw a shadow and then glass was flying."

The taxi driver tried to give medical assistance but Mr Hunt died of his injuries at the scene.

Hokio Beach Rd is a rural road without street lights.

- Additional reporting Mathew Grocott.

Manawatu Standard