Dinsdale woman killed by car outside friend's house

Last updated 08:51 07/03/2014
Gwen Jones

ROUSED BY CRASH: Gwen Jones was woken by the sound of the crash and found her friend on the road.

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A Hamilton woman has described how a gruesome crash outside her house killed a former work colleague and left a young driver, who lived in the same neighbourhood as the victim, in shock.

Dinsdale woman Gwen Jones was roused from her bed by the sound of glass shattering outside her home in Whatawhata Rd about 7.10am yesterday.

"I knew there was something wrong," Mrs Jones said.

Minutes later, when she walked out her driveway, she realised the woman critically injured on the road was an old workmate - Sharyn Sunman.

Mrs Jones said she saw that Ms Sunman's arm was severely injured.

"I was on the phone to 111. I said, 'Get the police, ambulance, and there's a lot of glass on the road'. "

Ms Sunman, who lived in Dinsdale, had been hit by a silver, Hamilton-bound sedan and died later yesterday morning at Waikato Hospital.

Mrs Jones said the 64-year-old's belongings - a folder, notebook and Busit! card - were scattered on the road.

The driver of the vehicle, who Mrs Jones identified as a young Dinsdale man, stood shocked nearby.

A neighbour, who declined to be named, said the driver looked rattled. "He was very shaken when he walked from the road to the grass."

A short time later he appeared to be comforted by family, the woman said.

The family of the driver and Ms Booth Sunman were both known to Mrs Jones.

When the Waikato Times visited her yesterday she said she would often drive Ms Sunman to Waikato Hospital, where they both worked for a time.

"She was a very religious lady. She was lovely, polite, well dressed."

Ms Sunman, who had moved to Hamilton from Christchurch and lived with her daughter, usually caught the morning bus from outside her house in Whatawhata Rd, Mrs Jones said.

"The bus was about two or three cars back and that would have been the one she would have been catching."

Mrs Jones said she also knew the driver and his family - who she described as lovely. "He's only a young boy. He was just heading off to work. He said he didn't see her."

When the Times visited the family of both Ms Sunman and the driver neither were ready to speak.

Waikato prevention manager Inspector Rob Lindsay said yesterday that he would not speculate on the cause of the crash.

The incident was under investigation by the serious crash unit, and the driver of the car was interviewed by police.


Ms Sunman's death brings the Waikato road toll to eight, twice the number of deaths for that of the same period last year.

District Road Policing Manager, Inspector Freda Grace,  said the woman's death was  the "eight avoidable tragedy this year."

"That means eight families are having to work through the tragic nature of losing a loved one and we as a community need to step up and say enough is enough and we want to do something about it."

The driver involved in yesterday's incident was cooperating with police and it was far too early to say what, if any, charges may result from the ongoing crash investigation, Mrs Grace said.

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- Waikato Times

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