Grieving family of a West Coast man killed in a car crash last Friday have revealed his wife was driving right behind him and watched in horror as it happened.
Granity man Dave Cross, 74, and his artist wife, Pat Cross, were moving to Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast and were on route to Nelson when the car he was driving ran off the road.
She saw his car run off the road into a ditch at Glenhope, on State Highway 6 north of Murchison, about 2pm that day.
It was only a few hours after they had set off from Granity to start their new life in the North Island and were supposed to be on a ferry crossing to Wellington that evening.
His brother, Terry Cross, 70, said today Pat was driving her car a few hundred metres behind him so was first to the scene, climbing down the bank to try to rescue him.
''She couldn't get him out of the car because he was quite a big guy. She rushed back to the road and the first person she flagged down was an off-duty policeman.''
He had a satellite phone and called emergency services to dispatch the Nelson Marlborough rescue helicopter while he and other bystanders pulled Cross out of the wreck.
However, he died at the scene.
Terry Cross, who lived in nearby coastal township Hector, said his brother's wife told him today autopsy results showed he had most likely suffered a heart attack or stroke, which caused the crash.
''I think all the stress and strain of moving might have got to him,'' he said.
''I helped him pack the removal truck up before he left that morning. I hugged him and said 'Ok bro, this might be the last time I see you'.
''I'm so glad I gave him a cuddle and said goodbye before he left, while he was still alive.''
Dave Cross's faithful old dog Nitro was with him but survived the crash.
Cross's widow planned to proceed with the shift to Waikanae after tomorrow morning's funeral in Nelson, where Cross was born and lived for much of his life.
''It would have been Dave's wish to still shift there,'' Terry Cross said.
The couple had sold their house in Granity, the small coastal township where they lived for about 15 years, and had already bought one in Waikanae.
Their belongings were moved into it after the crash.
Terry Cross said the couple had wanted to move up to the North Island to be closer to their son and daughter, who lived in Wellington.
His brother also had three other children with his first wife, May.
Tragically, it was the family's second fatal car crash.
Terry's first wife was killed in a head-on crash near Blenheim about 12 years ago.
- © Fairfax NZ News