A freak driveway accident that claimed a woman’s life in Lower Hutt has left her family devastated and in disbelief over how it happened.
Malkiat Manak said his daughter Maria Singh, 22, was helping push-start a car on Thursday, and somehow ended up underneath the vehicle.
His daughter, who had been studying psychology in Auckland, was in town to celebrate the university graduation of her sister, also named Maria Singh, he said.
Singh died in the suburb of Wainuiomata on Thursday in what police described as a “tragic” accident.
She was treated by ambulance staff at the scene on Manurewa Grove before succumbing to her injuries. Her death has been referred to the coroner.
Manak said his family was very upset that a simple act had resulted in such a tragedy.
“It is devastating for the family.”
His wife, Gurbax Kaurm, was “not good at all” and the whole family could not believe what had happened.
“Somehow she got underneath the car when it was rolling back.”
Singh was a former student of Wainuiomata High School where she was interested in fashion and design.
Manak said his daughter was a popular person who studied psychology so she could help people.
Singh was sometimes known as Harpreet, which Manak said referred to her always happy nature.
While Manak was speaking to Stuff, a clearly upset daughter called him from Australia.
He told her to “be strong” and said there was nothing they could do now to change what happened.
Manak was at the Sikh temple in the Lower Hutt suburb of Naenae on Friday to pray with other members of the Sikh community.
His friend, Jeet Briach, was also there to support Manak who was tearful and clearly upset. Manak was a well respected member of the community who had played a leading role in getting the Naenae temple built, Briach said.
Singh’s body is still with the coroner, and until the family get it back no decision has been made about a funeral, Manak said.
On Thursday, Hutt and City Taxis staff member Dharmen Krishnan said the death had come as a huge shock to everyone at the company where Manak was a senior employee.
“We will support him because he is a gentleman. It is very sad for him,” Krishnan said.
Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace said he did not know the family, but her death would have an impact on the whole community.
“Our hearts and deepest sympathies go out to the family. This a tragedy and when things like this happen, the whole community grieves.”