Elderly woman hit by car named
An elderly woman who became the third Hamilton pedestrian to die this year after she was hit by a car and pinned beneath it has been named.
Vera Moss Freeman, 87, was pushing a trolley out from the New World supermarket exit when a car hit her on a pedestrian crossing at Hamilton's Rototuna shopping centre about 10.20am yesterday.
District road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace said Freeman suffered serious leg injuries and was taken to Waikato Hospital in a critical condition, and died a short time later.
"While offering our condolences to the woman's family, police also need to highlight that too many people are dying on or by our roads because simple road rules were not being observed."
A 64-year-old pedestrian died on Whatawhata Rd on March 6, and an 88-year-old man died in hospital last week, 10 days after he was struck down by a vehicle on State Highway 1 at Karapiro. "Elderly pedestrians are an at-risk group we all need to be mindful of," Mrs Grace said.
"Instead of apportioning blame, we need to ask ourselves if we are doing enough to prevent these avoidable tragedies from occurring. All road users need to give each other breathing space out on the road and your driving behaviour should take into account that the next guy could make a mistake."
New World store manager Mark Gower said the woman was a regular customer.
He was speaking to her moments before she was hit. He heard a "pop" as if "he ran over a bottle or something".
"Then people started running and I thought that's odd."
Mr Gower rushed outside. He said the Freeman's arm was pinned beneath a tyre and her leg was injured. "That ankle," he said, "it was one of those horrible things you don't like seeing."
Health and safety co-ordinator Elaine Paraha also helped the stricken woman.
She squeezed her injured knee to stop the blood flow. Others rallied around to help too.
A doctor and nurse arrived from the nearby Radius Medical Centre, witness Emma Maclennan said.
Ms Maclennan also grabbed her first aid kit and tried to calm the woman who was initially unconscious. "She lost a hearing-aid, so it was hard to communicate with her - all she said was ‘help'.
"It was amazing how fast everyone responded around here."
The elderly man at the wheel of the Honda Accord that hit Freeman remained at the scene and co-operated with police.