Corina Tasker holds a photo of the crash scene on Tahunanui Dr, where her father Ross (pictured) died 20 years ago. The cross marking his death has gone missing. Photo: Andrew Board.

Memorial taken 20 years after crash

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On the 20th anniversary of her father’s horrific death, Corina Tasker went to pay her respects at the same two spots she had done for the previous 19 years – her father’s grave and the spot marked with a small white cross where he drew his last breath.

To her horror, the cross outside Tahunanui School was no longer there. In a panic she asked the school, neighbours and the council if they knew where it had gone. By the time she reached this newspaper office, wanting answers, Corina was in tears.

Ross Tasker died in 1994 when a truck crashed into a car on Tahunanui Dr, which caused another truck to swerve with a third truck, driven by Ross, crashing into the second truck, killing him instantly. The driver of the car, Carolyn Cook, also died that day.

The two crosses on the corner of Tahunanui Drive and Rawhiti St acted as a memorial to their deaths ever since.

Being in such a high profile place, Corina says she saw the cross almost every week and, while it had been broken before, it had never been taken.

Not once in 20 years.

“It’s very disrespectful and disgusting, really. It takes a long time to get over a death, especially when someone is taken so suddenly like that. Life’s not the same but it does get a little bit easier because we have things like those crosses there.”

Corina says it seems cruel that it went missing exactly 20 years to the day he died and is still at a loss as to who would want to take it. She says if it was taken for some official reason she can’t track down which organisation may have taken it. If it was someone stealing it, then she is horrified. “It was a tough-enough day anyway. When you think about the grandkids he didn’t see grow up and what a great granddad he would have been – because he was a great dad – it makes you upset. Then this happens, it ruined my day, I didn’t even get to his grave because I was too upset about this.”

She says she will replace the cross but would like to know what happened to the original.

“It’s cruel really. I just want them back there, even in the middle of the night, I don’t care, I just want them back and end of [story].”

Nelson City Council, NZTA and Tahunanui School all say they didn’t move the crosses.