Driver 'living in limbo' awaiting charges

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 05:00 17/06/2013
Joanna 'Jo' Mellow
FAIRFAX NZ
TRAGIC: Jo Mellow was killed while out jogging.

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The man who was at the wheel of a vehicle that killed Morrinsville jogger Joanna Mellow nearly two months ago will soon know if he is to face charges.

Every day since Mellow's death on Saturday, April 27, has seemed like "house arrest" for the 77-year-old man and his wife of 55 years, he says.

Across town the emotion runs deep too, but it is loss the Mellow family are coming to terms with day by day. Mellow - nurse, netball coach, animal fan and passionate runner - left behind husband Shane and young daughters Danielle and Monique.

The officer in charge of Morrinsville Police station, Vic Sneddon, said all interviews are complete and the final report is in the hands of the Waikato road police.

He said it would be married up with the serious crash unit investigation and senior police officers will decide whether any offences were committed and, if so, what the appropriate charges are - "we'll deal with whatever the direction is".

Any charges will be levelled at the driver - a 77-year-old former fireman.

He had been shopping in Hamilton with his 69-year-old brother on the morning of the incident and drove home in the early afternoon.

It was about 2pm when they reached the crest of a small hill on Seales Rd, as the man has done almost every day for the past 10 years.

Mellow was jogging somewhere in the vicinity of the intersection with North St, just below the brow of the hill.

At some point she ended up on the bonnet of the 4WD. The vehicle swerved right and veered across the lawn at 102 North St then crashed into bricks.

The driver's wife, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the woman was not pinned against the bricks as had been reported. She said the brothers rushed to help, took her off the bonnet and laid her on the ground.

The wife found it difficult to talk about and broke into tears repeatedly.

Her husband is not sleeping and is trying to keep busy as best he can without a licence, she said.

Complicating matters is the fact the couple have known families related to Mellow for more than 40 years.

"That's the awkward part about it all. And when you're in a district like this.

"He goes over and over it in the night; if only . . . if only I'd stopped 10 minutes earlier and I'd bought an ice cream."

They had received a lot of support but the worst part had been waiting for the police to act, she said.

"So you live in limbo. Thirty years ago you could cope - in your senior years you can't."

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When the decision comes out "at least they'll know".

Shane Mellow was not home when the Times visited yesterday but said at the time of the accident that he holds no animosity toward the driver as the police did not give him a clear reason for the crash.

"If it's a stupid reason, like a cellphone or something, that would make you a little more angrier. But saying that, I've used my phone. I've sped. I've done the things that can cause an accident like this." 

- Waikato Times

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