Hitchhiker dies after being hit by truck

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 16:35 11/03/2014
Turakina crash
WARWICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

SCENE: Two white marks indicate a spot where debris from the truck landed.

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LATEST: Police have named the hitchhiker killed by a passing truck near Turakina late last night.

He was Anthony Shramka, 27, of Whanganui.

Police released the name this afternoon and say they want to speak to people who saw a hitchhiker in the area of the crash between 9.30pm and 10.10pm.

A blessing took place at the site, near the intersection of State Highway 3 and Wanganui Rd in the Rangitikei township of Turakina this morning.

Shramka was believed to be hitchhiking to Whanganui when he was hit by a truck and trailer unit shortly after 10pm yesterday.

Turakina residents say the Shramka was hit in a 70kmh stretch of SH3 between the Coach House and Turakina Road House, on the left hand side when travelling toward Whanganui.

This morning, Marton-based Reverend Graham Karatau, of the Anglican Church, tossed water on that area of the road in a blessing of the site.

The blessing was to put the man who was killed there at peace, and leave the road safe for other users, he said.

Turakina resident Paul Chitty, who lives just down from where the incident happened, said he didn't hear anything from the back of the house.

It wasn't until he went outside to smoke and heard sirens that he realised something had happened, he said.

When he went to investigate, he saw the man lying in the middle of one lane of the road, and a large truck and trailer unit with a fertiliser bin on the back and a badly damaged front left hand side pulled up outside the Mobil service station.

About five firemen arrived and were carrying out first aid on the man as he lay in the road.

The incident occurred in an area flanked by streetlights.

White spray paint marks on the road and bits of broken headlight were the only visual reminders of the crash left this morning.

Higgins contractor Alex Drover visited the scene to take photos of the crash site, and check visibility and road conditions on behalf of the New Zealand Land Transport Agency.

He didn't find any issues, he said.

Police communications spokeswoman Sara Stavropoulos said police were in the process of speaking to the driver and witnesses, but early indications were that he had stepped out into the path of the truck.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Constable Craig Jackson at Whanganui CIB on 06 349 0600, or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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- Manawatu Standard

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