Off-duty police officer kills ‘real soul’ in car crash

An off-duty police officer who died after being hit by a car has been remembered as a “true soul” and the “greatest grandmother”.

Houhora officer Gail Shepherd was walking her dogs on Saturday afternoon when she was struck in Helena Bay, north of Whangārei.

Emergency services were called to the intersection of Webb Road and Russell Road at around 3.15pm.

Police said the car left the road and struck a utility pole before hitting a pedestrian, who died at the scene.

The driver suffered minor injuries.

Shepherd, who had worked at Kohukohu in Hokianga before moving to Houhora, is remembered by whānau and colleagues as “instrumental” in the Te Tai Tokerau community.

“A person who stayed true to herself and stood up for what she believed in, and who loved her family more than anything in the world,” said her police colleague John Larkin.

“A true soul who will be sadly missed by us, the Otangarei Neighborhood Police Team and everyone who worked with her.”

Shepherd was a loving mother and grandmother, her whānau said.

In a message posted online on behalf of her daughter, Shepherd was described as her best friend and “my babies’ greatest grandmother.” Her daughter’s name is Tyme

“I will love and miss you forever and ever,” it continued.

Broadwood Rural Voluntary Fire Brigade also posted on social media that it was saddened to hear of Shepherd’s death.

“It was a pleasure working with you during your time in North Hokianga. You will be missed.”

A police spokesman said their hearts went out to the officer’s family and friends, who were receiving support.

“Their passing is a tragic loss to our community and the impact will be felt.”

“We are doing our best to ensure our employees have access to the support they need during this difficult time.”