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Family of Four Children Left Without Father After Tragic Central Auckland Crash


Family of Four Children Left Without Father After Tragic Central Auckland Crash

Source: Stuff

Family of Four Children Left Without Father After Tragic Central Auckland Crash

An Auckland father of four, including two eight-month old twin girls, is set to have his life support turned off after suffering critical injuries when he was hit by a car while crossing the road.

Daniel “Dann” Kopa, 34, was hit while crossing Hobson St about 9am on Tuesday.

More than 100 family and friends have streamed through his Auckland City Hospital ward to say goodbye to the devoted father, and husband to Calli Cleland.

Jonny Chambers, Kopa’s best friend, said family would be turning his life support off on Thursday after a last-minute bid to grant his wish for tattoos representing his daughters be placed on his body.

Tattoo artist Andre Garcia was called by friends of Kopa about 7pm on Wednesday and asked if he would be able to tattoo Kopa’s body before he was taken off life support.

“I wouldn’t say I got shocked at the message but I felt for the family, I don’t know the words to explain that,” Garcia said.

Garcia created three small tattoos, from 11.30pm on Wednesday to almost 2am the next day, while family and friends looked on, then refused to accept their payment after he finished.

“How could you charge for something like that? I’m pretty sure they have funeral costs and all those things so I say to them I don’t want payment.

“I know how much those little tattoos would mean for them.

The tattoos were a footprint of his second eldest daughter to accompany an existing tattoo of his eldest daughter’s footprint on his chest, and the names of his twins.

Dann Kopa with his wife Calli Cleland and daughters Harper, 5, Zoey, 2, and eight-month-old twins Eden and Charli.

Kopa was crossing the road to a site for his work, Downer Engineering, when he was hit.

Chambers said Kopa’s head had taken the brunt of the impact and swelling in his skull had cut-off bloodflow to his brain.

He said he was grateful to emergency services who had done a “fantastic job” reviving Kopa after his heart stopped beating, allowing family and friends time to say goodbye.

“It’s terrible in any instance I’m sure but it just seems so unfair that this has happened to him, just crossing the road.

Kopa and Cleland were childhood sweethearts and met when Cleland was 14 years old.

Rochelle Davidson, Cleland’s best friend, said she knew something was wrong when Cleland called her at 10.15am on Tuesday.

Davidson said she couldn’t understand what Cleland was saying at first and thought police may have made the crash sound worse than it was, until the two of them arrived at the hospital.

“She just broke down and started yelling and screaming.”

Davidson said Cleland was “trying to be strong” and breastfeeding their two eight-month old twin baby girls while spending time with Kopa.

“She hasn’t had any sleep since it happened and she’s not really able to eat, as you would expect, she’s a mess.”

Cleland, 32, was 14 years old when she met Kopa and the two had been together for 17 years, Davidson said.

“She’s been with him longer than she hasn’t.”

She said Kopa was the type of man “who would just do anything for you”.

“He just will drop everything and help you.

“He’s such a good guy, he would give you the clothes off his back.”

Cleland had been on maternity leave and Kopa’s death would leave the family without its main source of income.

Friends have rallied around the family setting up a Givealittle page to support her and their four daughters. More than $30,000 has been raised in less than 24 hours.

Police said the Serious Crash Unit was investigating the crash.


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