A moment of carelessness behind the wheel was all it took to leave a family devastated and a Palmerston North man with years of regret ahead of him.
Bevan Ross Judd, 31, was sentenced in Feilding District Court yesterday for careless driving causing injury. He was ordered to pay $3000 to the family in emotional harm reparation, and was disqualified from driving for six months.
Jennifer Robin Insull died in hospital on June 4 a week after the crash.
Judd's carelessness was not at a high level, but he should have seen the car he crashed into, Judge Barbara Morris said.
"The reasonable driver never falls below that reasonable standard of care. But sometimes the ordinary driver does. And you did," she said.
"These types of cases are very difficult for the court.
"The carelessness fleeting, the consequences permanent.
"No sentence can be a measure of that loss," she said.
"You have to live with the consequences for the rest of your life, and that is not to be underestimated."
But Ms Insull's family said they believed the sentence was inadequate.
The Palmerston North grandmother was driving her granddaughter in Milson Line when Judd, approaching from the north in Newbury Line, collided with Ms Insull's vehicle on the afternoon of May 27.
Judd, a builder, slowed at the give-way intersection, but failed to see the car approaching.
Ms Insull suffered a broken neck, and a severed spinal cord, and was put in an induced coma before her death.
Her family were with her after the crash, including her granddaughter, who walked away with cuts and grazes, and were able to speak to her before she was put in a coma.
A statement read out on behalf of the family said Ms Insull's last words to her family were: "I love you all."
Ms Insull's daughters struggled to hold back their tears while the statement was read.
"It completely changed our lives . . . It has impacted everything we had planned," it said.
Judd listened to the statement from the dock, where he just managed to hold in his emotions.
Judge Morris said she took Judd's previously clean record, his guilty plea, and his obvious remorse into account when sentencing him.
Defence lawyer Peter Brosnahan said Judd was "remorseful", and his carelessness was at the "lowest level".
However, police prosecutor Sergeant Chris Whitmore said drivers travelling in 100kmh zones needed to be especially careful.
"It was above the lowest level of carelessness," Mr Whitmore said.
Away from court, Ms Insull's daughter, Katherine Thompson, said she did not believe the punishment fitted with the consequences.
- © Fairfax NZ News
What would you like the weather to do in March?