AMANDA CROPP IS A NORTH & SOUTH CONTRIBUTING WRITER. PHOTOGRAPHY JANE WYLES.
Death At The Crossing
A Mother’s Heartbreak Campaign
XX NORTH & SOUTH AUGUST 2005
Christchurch mother Margaret McGowan made sure her children were traffic savvy. But
two years ago she learned in the most tragic way that a green walk signal is no guarantee
of safe passage, when 22-year-old son Duncan died after two trucks ran him over on a busy
Christchurch intersection crossing.
Thanks to Margaret McGowan’s persistence a coroner is now delving into eight other
similar pedestrian fatalities. AMANDA CROPP records one mother’s determined battle to
ensure her son’s death and her heartache are not in vain.
AUGUST 2005 NORTH & SOUTH XX
e was a gun skier, mad on four-wheel-driving, a
keen tramper, photographer and a fanatical roller
blader who’d often skate the seven kilometres
home after a late shift at Burger King. But he
wasn’t a jay walker.
On April 22 2003 just after 7.30 am Duncan
McGowan was at a traffi c light-controlled crossing on the corner
of Carmen Road and Waterlooo Road, an industrial area on
Christchurch’s western fringe. No one saw exactly what happened
next, but seconds later McGowan was 12 metres from the crossing,
spread-eagled on the road, wedged against the rear wheel of a fi ve-
His right leg was broken, his chest crushed, and broken ribs had
ruptured vital organs. A scattered trail of possessions — cell phone,
cigarette fi lters, belt buckle and a tobacco tin — marked the path of
his fi nal terrifying journey.
Less than two hours earlier, McGowan had made a hasty exit
from his Cashel Street fl at, discarding
his boxer shorts in a heap on the bath-
room fl oor. It was a fi ne clear morning
heralding another crisp autumn day
and Christchurch residents were waking
to the grim news that 15 detectives
were investigating the discovery of a
man’s body in the Heathcote River.
But McGowan was probably more
interested in ensuring he caught the
6.15 am bus across town to his temp