Jul18
2010

Teenager charged after horror smash

Police have charged a teenager with dangerous driving causing death after a van crash which left 11 of his friends strewn across the road.

Aaron Gourlay, 18, faces one charge of dangerous driving causing death and 10 charges of dangerous driving causing injury. He will appear in the Rotorua District Court on January 10.


The van, carrying 12 teenagers, was travelling north on State Highway 5 at Tumunui, just south of Rotorua, on July 17 when it crossed the centreline and collided into a bank before rolling back on to the road.

All of the group were thrown from the van. Jesse Howe, 17, died 22 days later.

Bay of Plenty road policing manager, Inspector Kevin Taylor, said it was a "devastating" crash that had an immediate and wide impact on the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty communities, and around New Zealand......

© Fairfax NZ News

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Apr10
2010

Game's hero's mother killed Car crashes near airport

Wilma McCorkindale

The mother of Winter Paralympics gold medallist Adam Hall was killed in a car crash near Dunedin Airport yesterday. It is understood Gayle Hall had just left the airport after seeing her son off on a flight to Wellington to appear on TV One's Breakfast programme.

The 48-year-old midwife’s car left the road and crashed early yesterday morning only a short distance from the airport where only a week ago she welcomed her victorious son home from the Vancouver Games. Adam achieved his gold medal win in the downhill slalom at the Paralympics a month ago.The last memory of Mrs Hall for many at the event will be her waiting patiently, proudly smiling, and clutching a small woven basket of native flowers as the official welcome for Adam unfolded. Police said her car ran off Otakia Rd near the intersection with Maungatua Rd, south of the airport. The cause of the crash had not been established. She was the only occupant of the vehicle.The road was closed for three hours as the serious crash unit investigated. Family friend and spokesman Kevin Davidson said Adam arrived back in Dunedin yesterday afternoon. The family – husband Lindsay, Adam and daughter Mikaeyla – were still coming to terms with the loss of a much-loved wife and mother, he said. Further statements would be made once the family had had time to deal with their loss, Mr Davidson said. Paralympics New Zealand chief executive officer Fiona Pickering said last night she had contacted Adam and he was “handling it very well”.

“He is with his family at the moment and they are all providing support.”

Paralympics New Zealand was “shocked and saddened” at the news, Mrs Pickering said.

“We see the Halls very much as being part of the family. It’s devastated us all. We offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends.” A Wanaka woman who met Mrs Hall when she stepped in to be her midwife a month ago said she was a lovely woman.

The woman said she remembered Mrs Hall as being excited about heading overseas with Adam.“She even talked about one day moving to Wanaka permanently so she could spend more time with her son,” she said......

©2010 Southland Times Reproduced courtesy of the Southland Times.

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Sep30
2009

Momentary lapse that ended in tragedy

Greer McDonald

When Geoff Eades fell asleep at the wheel and crashed, three family members died. A poignant funeral yesterday served as a warning to others, writes Greer McDonald.
PROPPED up in his wheelchair at the front of the Wesley Methodist Church and with his leg in a cast extended out in front of him, Geoff Eades stared at the two brightly decorated coffins lying on ornate tapa cloth and woven mats. In one was his Fijian-born wife of 36 years, Sera Eades. In the other smaller, baby pink coffin was his three-year old granddaughter Iva Harper. Hundreds of friends and family filled the central Wellington church yesterday to mourn the triple fatality which happened two weeks ago today.

New Zealand-born Mr Eades, who had flown to Christchurch from Britain three days earlier, fell asleep at the wheel of a borrowed car due to sleep loss, jetlag and stress.
The car hit a power pole. Although it was travelling only about 40kmh, had functioning airbags, and all passengers were wearing seatbelts, the impact killed Mr Eades’wife, 60, their granddaughter and his cousin, Valerie Bryan, 68, Mr Eades broke his ankle, cracked his ribs and suffered a partly collapsed lung in the crash. Iva’s parents, Linieta Eades and Jeff Harper, both Kiwis living in London, spoke to mourners at the funeral. “Iva will always be my little pumpkin.” Mr Harper said. “I know she’s off on her own little adventure.”
The pair thanked emergency services and bystanders who assisted at the crash scene.
“Thank you for all the good human spirits, from Christchurch to Wellington, all around the world,” Ms Eades said. “It has been a tough couple of weeks, the worst I hope we ever experience. Thank you [Iva] for making your dad and I so, so proud and for loving us as much as I love you.” Iva was described as a “three-year-old” going on 21 years old”, who loved the colour pink, to paint her nails and turned her nose up at chocolate, preferring vegetables and hummus instead. Mrs Eades had lived in the Wellington region for periods since 1975, and worked for Kirkcaldie & Stains as well as being involved in her local church at Raumati. The couple had moved back to Britain last year, where Mrs Eades became ‘inseparable” from her granddaughter. “They are a perfect double act who played off each other,” a tribute read out from Britain said. “She did not tell you how to live life, she showed you.” A family member said the accident was a “hard lesson for all of us” and served as a reminder to drivers about what fatigue could result in.
“We need to forgive. I know it won’t be easy.” Mr Eades has decided not to return to Britain but to remain in Wellington so he will be close to the graves of his wife and granddaughter.
His cousin’s funeral will take place in Britain. Police have said Mr Eades will be charged with careless driving causing death. They postponed laying charges to give him time to grieve with family. Mr Eades has said that he will plead guilty......

©Reproduced courtesy of the Dominion Post

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Jul26
2007

Crash driver had worked for 21 days in a row

Mike Watson

TAUPO delivery driver had been working 21 days without a break, sometimes on double shifts, on the day he drove into two cyclists, killing a woman and injuring her husband.
The driver was also short sighted, and had forgotten to take his prescription glasses with him as he left for work in the morning because he 'was in a dream'.

In Taupo District Court yesterday, Zane Gregory Homann, 32, pleaded guilty to careless driving causing the death of Hillary Haward, 57, in Taupo on March 3.
Homann, a bakery delivery driver, also admitted careless driving causing injury to her husband, Brinley.
The court was told the Hawards were cycling up Spa Rd toward their campsite at the Top 10 Holiday Park on Centennial Rd when they were struck from behind by Homann’s 2.5 tonne delivery van. The couple were returning from watching the start of the Ironman New Zealand triathlon on the lakefront. Mrs Haward died at the scene from spine and chest injuries. Her husband was thrown nearly 13 metres from his bike and suffered nerve damage to his shoulder and cuts and bruises. The police crash investigation had found Homann was short-sighted and should have been wearing his prescription glasses for driving. He had left them at home, however, when he went to work at 5.30am on the day of the crash. Homann had told police that he had forgotten the glasses because he “was in a dream” when he walked out the door. Work records showed that leading up to the crash Homann had worked 21 days without a day off. His normal working day started at 6am and finished in the early afternoon. But on Fridays he would work an extra shift, returning to work at 9pm and finishing at 1am. The day before the crash he worked a double shift of 13 ½ hours in total, finishing at 1am before getting up the next morning to start work again at 5.30am. Less than four hours later Homann’s van crashed into the two cyclists.
Police found no mechanical faults with the van but believed three objects – a GPS device, a digital clock and a stuffed toy on the windscreen – may have restricted Homann’s view of the cyclists as he approached them at less than 50km/h. Mr Haward, who was not in court, has rejected an offer of a restorative justice meeting with Homann.
Judge Chris McGuire remanded Homann on bail for sentencing on August 30......

©Reproduced courtesy of the Dominion Post

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Sep14
2006

Three children die as van hits ditch

Britton Broun

THREE children are dead and their mother and brother are in hospital after their vehicle veered off the road and crashed into a culvert near Shannon.
The family believed to have been returning to their Palmerston North home after an outing in Horowhenua when the crash took place on State Highway 56 yesterday afternoon.

The mother and her son, 8, were both in a critical condition last night. Two children, a boy aged two and a girl agreed three, died in the crash. Their sister, 6, survived the impact but died in Palmerston North hopspital’s intensive care unit about 6pm. The eight-year-old boy was flown to Auckland’s Starship hospital last night. Police are mystified by the crash. A witness said the Toyota LiteAce, driven by the mother, veered off the road for no apparent reason and came to rest upside down in a five-metre-deep drain.
The vehicle was being followed by a car full of family and friends, Senior Constable Les Maddaford said. “Obviously it’s a family outing of some sort that’s gone tragically wrong. The family were behind and they had to watch it unfold in front of them.”
The vehicle was removed from the ditch by a crane, leaving children’s cushions, a baby’s bottle and a bright plastic ball floating in the culvert. The right front corner of the vehicle was crushed, the windscreen shattered and the sides dented.
Also yesterday, a man in his forties died when his ute crashed into a bridge on State Highway 2 near Woodville about 3pm. The vehicle then rolled down a bank, killing the only occupant, police said......

©Reproduced courtesy of the Dominion Post

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