Disqualification for 'tragic' accident

A man spoken about in glowing terms by people in his community has been disqualified from driving for nine months for a crash that caused the death of Arthur Ross in Waihi.

The 77-year-old died from injuries he sustained in a crash at the intersection of State Highway 2 and Johnson Road just before 12pm on September 6, 2014.

Police say he was struck by a four door Mazda car, with the force of the impact flinging him in the air before he hit the pavement.

Arthur was airlifted to Waikato Hospital but his condition continued to deteriorate and he passed away two weeks later.

Following an investigation by the Waikato Serious Crash unit, Ross Johnson was charged with careless driving causing death.

Ross appeared in Tauranga District Court today for sentencing after earlier pleading guilty to the charge.

His lawyer, Tony Balme, told Judge David Ruth that Ross was driving with his 12-year-old son towards Auckland to see a soccer game.

“His son is autistic and deaf,” he said, “and both Mr Johnson and his wife are up at all hours of the night dealing with their son.

“Mr Johnson deals on a daily basis with lack of sleep and thought that day was like any other.”

Tony says Ross fell asleep for a brief moment, causing him to veer left and strike the cyclist.

“He has had difficulties since the crash,” he added.

Arthur’s family declined to take part in a restorative justice conference with Ross.

Judge Ruth said what happened was tragic.

“Your culpability in this is very low and a disqualification will cause significant hardship to the family,” said Judge Ruth, detailing Ross’ family’s situation.

“You were unaware of being tired and drifted off momentarily. You’re active in the community and spoken about in glowing terms. You have made a generous offer of emotional harm reparation.”

Judge Ruth sentenced Ross to nine months disqualification and ordered him to pay an emotional harm reparation payment of $3000 within 28 days.

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1 Comment

I'm sorry but

Posted on 19-03-2015 17:44 | By SML

he was driving, fell asleep not far into a long trip, hit an elderly man who eventually died from his injuries, and it’s "low culpability"? Who else was at fault, then? We are all told not to drive when lacking in sleep - this driver was heading for Auckland.... he could have hit someone else along the w ay, just as easily.Something doesn’t sit right with this sentencing (and I have had to deal with all the issues with a child with disabilities, too). That’s not an excuse, sorry.

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