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Fiji Time: 6:43 PM on Wednesday 23 April

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Highway tragedy

Maciu Malo
Monday, January 14, 2013

A PARENTS' wish of marrying off their son was shattered when 31-year-old Apete Matacala died at the Lautoka Hospital at the weekend.

Mr Matacala, who died on Saturday morning, was involved in a road accident at Waimalika, Nadi, last Wednesday.

Kalisi Ranadi, his mother, said the family had been looking forward to see their son marry the love of his life.

She said her son had arranged food for the wedding.

"My son told me last year that he wanted to have his marriage this year," she said with tears in her eyes. He had arranged for two pigs for his wedding and had also planted dalo and cassava but all these will be used for his funeral now.

"It is really painful to see all our plans shattered."

Mrs Ranadi said nothing could replace her son and thanked God for allowing her to spend the past 31 years with him.

"I have four children," she said, admitting the untimely death of "Pate" would be greatly felt by the family. "He was a good listener and was an asset to my family. He will be greatly missed and nothing can replace him in my heart," said Mrs Ranadi.

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Mr Matacala's father, Jona Rakarakatia said he was shocked when he saw his son lying on the road with blood on his head.

"I thought I was dreaming after seeing my son on the road," he said.

"I never expected him to die so early. In fact he had told us that he wanted to wed the love of his love this year.

"Now all planning are in vain with the death of my son," said Mr Rakarakatia.

Police have confirmed that the deceased was hit by vehicle driven by a 34-year old Suva man.

Fiji Police Force spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said the accident occurred when a vehicle driven by a 34-year old of Suva, who was heading to the Nadi International Airport, allegedly bumped the deceased who was standing on the left side of the road.

Ms Naisoro said the driver had also allegedly failed to stop after the accident.

However, she said, the driver was later arrested at Cuvu in Sigatoka and escorted to the Namaka Police Station.

"The accused was interviewed and charged for three counts - first count for dangerous driving, second count - fail to stop after an accident and third count - failed to report after an accident," Ms Naisoro said.

"He appeared at the Nadi Magistrate's Court on Friday and was bailed to appear on March 1.

"However, with the latest developments, investigators will be looking at the case once again."

Ms Naisoro said a post mortem of the deceased would be conducted soon.

The road death toll currently stands at three compared to nil for the same period last year.

Mr Matacala's father, Jona Rakarakatia said he was shocked when he saw his son lying on the road with blood on his head.

"I thought I was dreaming after seeing my son on the road," he said.

"I never expected him to die so early. In fact he had told us that he wanted to wed the love of his life this year.

"Now all planning are in vain with the death of my son," said Mr Rakarakatia.

Police confirmed that the deceased was hit by vehicle driven by a 34-year-old man of Suva.

Fiji Police Force spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said the accident occurred when the vehicle was heading to the Nadi International Airport. The driver allegedly bumped the deceased who was standing on the left side of the road. Ms Naisoro said the driver failed to stop after the accident.

However, she said the driver was later arrested at Cuvu in Sigatoka and escorted to the Namaka Police Station.

"The accused was interviewed and charged for three counts. The first count for dangerous driving, second count for failing to stop after an accident and the third count for failing to report after an accident," Ms Naisoro said.

"He appeared at the Nadi Magistrate's Court on Friday and was bailed to appear on March 1.

"However, with the latest developments, investigators will be looking at the case once again."

The road death toll stands at three compared to zero for the same period last year.