Tula Ram Chhetri charged after crash that killed his wife and 7-month-old son


Srijhana Chhetri lost her mother and brother in a car crash.

A man has been charged after a crash that killed his wife and 7-month-old son.

Christchurch man Tula Ram Chhetri, 44, was driving home when he allegedly pulled out on to State Highway 8, near Twizel in South Canterbury, and into the path of an oncoming vehicle about 7pm on April 19.

The collision killed Chhetri's wife, Mon, 36, and their 7-month-old son, Aaron. Tula Ram Chhetri and his 7-year-old daughter, Jessica, were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Mon Chhetri, 36, and her 7-month-old son, Aaron Chhetri, died at the scene of a crash in Twizel.

Mon Chhetri, 36, and her 7-month-old son, Aaron Chhetri, died at the scene of a crash in Twizel.

Police said a 44-year-old man was facing two charges of dangerous driving causing death and four charges of dangerous driving causing injury.

Mourners farewell 'loving mother' and 'beautiful baby' after fatal crash
Mother and baby boy killed in crash near Twizel

He will appear in the Oamaru District Court on November 23.

From left: Jessica Chhetri, 7, Tula Ram, 44, Bidhya, 10, and Mon Chhetri.

From left: Jessica Chhetri, 7, Tula Ram, 44, Bidhya, 10, and Mon Chhetri.

In a earlier interview, Tula Ram Chhetri said he was "trying to be strong for my daughters".

His 19-year-old daughter, Srijhana, who was not in the car at the time of the crash, said at the time it "breaks my heart" to see her father mourn his wife and son.

"As far as I know, since April 19th until nine days after he doesn't remember much, he doesn't understand things.

"Then after nine days he understood that his wife and his baby were no longer here, he was crying all the time . . . it breaks my heart seeing him in that condition, all I can do is give him support."

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He and Mon Chhetri celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary only days before the crash. They had taken Srijhana Chhetri to Dunedin so she could start studying medicine at the University of Otago.

The teenager gave her mother a makeover on the morning of the crash. She had just put her brother in the car when her mum gave her a huge.

"She told me not to feel lonely or anything, just to study hard, make her proud and they waved me goodbye," Srijhana Chhetri said in a earlier interview.

She waited for a call from her family to say they had made it to Christchurch safely.

The phone did not ring until 8pm.

"He was in shock, he couldn't even talk. I kept asking 'daddy, what's wrong'? All he could say was 'car crash' nothing else, he was just crying and I was really worried."

One of the nurses at the scene took the phone and said her family had been in a crash.

"They told me that my mum and my brother couldn't make it and I was just like 'no, no, that's not true, they will get up'."

Srijhana Chhetri described her mum as "the strongest lady that I know".

"She always hid her pain to make other people feel happy and not show any sadness on her face."

The Bhutanese family moved to Christchurch in 2008 as part of the refugee programme. They were the first of the family to come to New Zealand.

Srijhana Chhetri said at the time her sister, Jessica, saw everything but did not understand what had happened.

"She will be asking me 'where's mum, I want to see her, where's brother, I want to go see him'. I don't know what to tell her, she's too young to understand this."

Srijhana Chhetri said she would fulfil her mother's dream of becoming a doctor.

"It may take time because I have to take care of my sisters and my dad as well but I will definitely study."

Srijhana's 10-year-old sister, Bidhya, had been staying with an aunt in Christchurch and was not in the car. 

 - Stuff

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