Crash victim's death could lead to more serious charge
A Palmerston North man has been sent to prison for seriously injuring three women after crashing his speeding car into theirs - and police have said another more serious charge could be on its way in the wake of one of his victims dying.
Jonathon Edward James Moore, 22, was sentenced in Palmerston North District Court yesterday to 18 months' prison for three charges of dangerous driving causing injury in relation to the June 5 crash.
He was also disqualified from driving for 30 months, and ordered to pay one of his victims $3300 reparation for insurance fees and dental work.
Moore was driving a Subaru WRX along Vogel St in Palmerston North about 1.30pm, doing more than double the 50kmh speed limit, when he passed a bus and crashed into a Mazda, which was completing a U-turn.
The three people in the Mazda were trapped and had to be cut free by the Palmerston North fire brigade.
All three women suffered injuries and were taken to Palmerston North Hospital.
One of the passengers, Shirley Margaret Greer, 88, died in hospital six weeks later.
Moore walked away from the crash unscathed.
Prosecutor Neil Coker said police were still working with medical experts to see if there was a direct link between the crash and the woman's death.
"At this stage it is too early to say just where the investigation is going without a full assessment of all the medical information and a legal opinion."
A decision on whether Moore would face a dangerous driving causing death charge was months away, he said.
Mrs Greer's twin children, Leigh Greer and Dalys Boyes, had their victim impact statements read to the court.
Tears ran down Leigh Greer's face as the victim adviser told the court on his behalf how his mother had lived independently most of her life.
Moore stared at the floor and physically shook as he heard how the crash shattered all the ribs on the right side of Mrs Greer's body, and she was left black and blue with bruising.
She was reliant on help to move her around the hospital, but any movement was agony, Leigh Greer wrote.
"I had never heard her scream in agony before."
His mother had suffered great emotional harm, going from a "happy, optimistic person wanting to continue with life, to expressing she had had enough of it".
"It was too much and she wanted to go."
Boyes wrote that her mother was aiming to make it to 100 years of age, and was looking forward to getting her letter from the Queen.
Judge Gregory Ross spent much of his time addressing the supporters of the victims who were seated in the public gallery, explaining how the sentencing process worked.
"This procedure itself is not designed to give satisfaction or pleasure to any party.
"It is based on law, and this defendant will be sentenced according to the law for the offending he has committed.
"There is sometimes a lack of understanding of those complications, which can lead to defeated expectations and misunderstandings from victims."
Moore's driving conviction history was minor, he had pleaded guilty at an early opportunity and had expressed some remorse, the judge said.
On the other hand, he had been driving at more than double the speed limit on a busy suburban street.
The judge said it was possible for police to lay the more serious charge against Moore if they could gather enough evidence.