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Ōamaru crash: Widow left to raise three kids after father killed in ‘terrible tragedy’

Author
By Pierre Nixon,
Publish Date
Mon, 12 Feb 2024, 11:41AM

Ōamaru crash: Widow left to raise three kids after father killed in ‘terrible tragedy’

Author
By Pierre Nixon,
Publish Date
Mon, 12 Feb 2024, 11:41AM

Melissa Cormack is now a solo mother raising three young children after her partner, Bryan Unkovich, was killed in a double fatal crash south of Ōamaru.

A large truck and trailer collided with Unkovich’s car on State Highway 1 near Browns Rd, Alma, Waitaki district, a fortnight ago.

The two drivers killed both worked for the same company in what the chief executive called a “terrible coincidence”.

The truck was carrying coal for Hilton Haulage, but the company confirmed Unkovich was travelling privately on his rostered day off.

Unkovich’s partner Melissa Cormack, with whom he had three young children, told the Herald she was struggling to adjust to life without her partner.

Byran Unkovich's partner Melissa Cormack said his kids were his world. Photo / Supplied. Byran Unkovich's partner Melissa Cormack said his kids were his world. Photo / Supplied.

“[It’s hard] not knowing where to go next or how to deal with mine and the children’s grief,” she said.

“Knowing he’s not coming and hearing his car pull up or not having him here to help me with my dark times or when our youngest is having a rough time with his emotions.”

Unkovich had a real passion for cars and was ‘always driving.’

“He knew how to fix them, or if he didn’t he’d find out.”

She said his family was his world.

“He was always helping and supporting friends or family or anyone really.”

Bryan Unkovich worked as a truck driver for Hilton Haulage. Photo / Supplied.Bryan Unkovich worked as a truck driver for Hilton Haulage. Photo / Supplied.

A Givealittle set up for the family by Byran’s brother, Todd Unkovich, said: “Bryan’s absence leaves a void not only emotionally but also financially as he was the main income earner for the family and sadly did not have life insurance.”

“Your support on this page can help ease the immediate financial burdens, allowing Melissa to focus on creating a stable and loving home for her children,” the page said.

Hilton Haulage chief executive Dylan Fitzgerald earlier said it was a “terrible tragedy for the families involved and the Hilton Haulage team”.

“We are all shocked by this terrible coincidence and our deepest sympathies go to both families during this time.”

He said he was unable to comment on any possible causes of the accident, but would fully support the police in their investigations.

An internal investigation would also be conducted.

That crash topped off a horror 24 hours on South Island roads when five people were killed between Sunday, January 28 to Monday 29.

Police’s Canterbury prevention manager, Inspector Ash Tabb, earlier told the Herald any road deaths are “devastating” and are “felt by many”.

“Many of the crashes emergency services respond to are preventable. We see too many crashes where motorists have chosen to speed, drink-drive, be impatient or let themselves get distracted and take their eyes off of the road,” Tabb said.

“Deaths on our roads not only impact the family and friends of those involved but the emergency services who respond and the public who witness the crash.”

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