Taranaki artist Carmen Rogers dies after crash

TALENTED ARTIST: Carmen Rogers was believed to be getting out of her car when she was hit.
TALENTED ARTIST: Carmen Rogers was believed to be getting out of her car when she was hit.

Taranaki artist Carmen Rogers died in Wellington Hospital last night following a road accident on Tuesday afternoon.

The Taranaki Daily News understands her family last night faced the agonising decision about whether or not to keep her on life support.

The 41-year-old was believed to have been getting out of her car when she was hit on New Plymouth's Brougham St on Tuesday at 4.45pm.

Rogers is the third pedestrian to have been hit and killed on Taranaki roads in the last week and the fourth this year.

The incident has left the region's art community reeling.

Rogers' husband, Che, has been with the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust (Taft) as its graphic designer since 2005.

The couple were together for 21 years and had two daughters.

Rogers was also the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery's last Open Window artist and her five-month long exhibition, Crystallised, finished on Sunday.

She was flown to Wellington Hospital with critical head injuries.

Meanwhile, police are asking for witnesses to come forward.

The vehicle was a dark-coloured 4WD Land Cruiser with a bull bar on the front and the alleged offender was three times over the alcohol limit with a recording of 1297 micrograms.

The 31-year-old New Plymouth man was initially expected to appear in court yesterday but will now appear on May 14.

"We want to speak to anyone that saw the crash or the 4WD travelling in the vicinity of Brougham and Powderham St," Constable Lee Rose said.

"These streets are normally very busy at this time of the day and I encourage anyone that saw the crash or has any information to contact police."

The Serious Crash Unit is continuing its investigations.

Taft chief executive officer Suzanne Porter said the incident was a "huge shock" to the small team, who were like a family.

"The whole team is in shock," Porter said.

"It's such a tragedy. We're all traumatised."

Rogers was a wonderful mother and a gifted artist, Porter said.

"She's fabulous with her two daughters and very clever artistically," she said. "They're just a great family."

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery operations manager Helen Telford said staff were "deeply shocked" at what had happened.

"Our thoughts are with Carmen, her family and friends at this devastating time," she said.

Rogers had bachelor of visual art in fine art from Witt and also received the award for the top fine art student of her year, with her sculpture work purchased by Witt for its collection.

She was also a finalist in the The New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award in 2011 and 2013. Rogers was also the recipient of the Betty Loughhead Soroptomist Scholarship in 2010.

She had also shown solo exhibitions at Oui Gallery in Auckland and Artspost in Hamilton and presented a sculptural installation at Taranaki's Womad 2013.

People with information about the accident are asked to contact Rose on 06 215 4968 or the anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.

Taranaki Daily News