Police tight-lipped over fatal


Police still haven’t decided whether to charge a coach driver over a fatal accident near Queenstown four months ago.

US tourist Richard Phillip Hyde, 73, died when a bus reversed into him at Mt Nicholas Station on April 16.

Police media spokesman Nic Barclay confirms officers have finished their investigation.

“[It] is currently being reviewed to determine what, if any, charges may result from this investigation,” Barclay says in an emailed statement from Wellington HQ.

The media team would not reveal when the investigation was concluded or arrange direct comment from the officer in charge.

“As this case is being reviewed and may end in court proceedings, police will not be conducting any interviews.”

Hyde, of Massachusetts, was hit in the carpark of the privately-owned 40,000ha station west of Walter Peak, on the west side of Lake Wakatipu.

He was helicoptered to hospital but died of his injuries, which included serious chest injures.

Tourism firm Southern Discoveries launched the station as a farm tourism experience in 2014.

Hyde was on one of its tours.

Southern Discoveries boss Tim Hunter, who is overseas, says by email the driver has returned to work but is not on driving duties.

“We completed a comprehensive internal investigation some months ago which has resulted in changes to our coach operating procedures aimed at minimising reversing manoeuvres.

“We have also installed reversing cameras on all Southern Discoveries coaches.”

A statement from the firm in April says the vehicle was believed to have been making a “slow backing manoeuvre” at the time of the accident.

“A full accident and emergency procedure was instigated by the company.”

The company suspended operations over the weekend and the driver was stood down.

Canadian-born Hyde, a self-employed economics researcher who once ran for the US Senate against Ted Kennedy, was buried in Ontario, Canada.