Crash victim's family 'feel for' driver

'Sprightly' retiree died after being hit by van

Last updated 09:08 29/05/2014
Donald Rutherford Wilson
FUNNY, OUTRAGEOUS AND WISE: Amberley retiree Donald Rutherford Wilson, 83, was crossing Stanmore Rd when he was hit by a turning van last Thursday.

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The brother of a "sprightly" elderly pedestrian who died after being struck by a van in Phillipstown says he pities the driver.

Amberley retiree Donald (Don) Rutherford Wilson, 83, was crossing Stanmore Rd after lunch with a friend when he was hit by a turning van about 4pm last Thursday.

He died in Christchurch Hospital early the next morning.

Police said yesterday they would consider charging the van driver, who is in his 40s.

Roger Wilson said his brother's death was "a shock".

"He was very fit and suffered no ill health at all. From his point of view, it was an extremely good way to go. For those of us left behind . . . we didn't see that one coming at all."

Roger Wilson, 68, suspected the crash was simply an accident as his brother walked to his car.

"I really feel for the driver. Even if there was some element of responsibility on the part of the driver, we're all guilty of that from time to time. We all make mistakes."

Don Wilson was the eldest of three sons. He was raised in Timaru and studied teaching before turning to church work.

The ordained Presbyterian minister was the University of Canterbury chaplain and, later, the University Hall principal from 1974 to 1996, when he retired.

He was a member of the Amberley Presbyterian Church parish, where he occasionally preached.

Church minister Nancy-Jean Whitehead said Don Wilson was "active and sprightly" with "personality plus".

He delivered meals on wheels, played mahjong regularly, and was a probus member.

"He was funny, outrageous at times and wise," she said.

"He very much loved by the parish and local communities of Amberley and Leithfield."

To learn of her friend and mentor's death was "a huge blow".

"He had a great deal left in him," Whitehead said.

Police said the van, which was towing a trailer, had been travelling south on Tuam St.

The driver stopped at the Stanmore Rd intersection before turning right and hitting Wilson as he crossed Stanmore Rd from west to east.

It was "too early to speculate on contributing factors", a police spokesman said.

Don Wilson, a widower, was survived by his children Rose and Michael.

A memorial service would be held at the Amberley parish at 11am on Wednesday.

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- The Press

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