Driver admits role in fatal crash

A Christchurch man has admitted killing another man in a four-car crash near Havelock in June, although the cause of the crash remains unclear.

The 56-year-old man was killed when he was hit head-on by a utility vehicle driven by Ian Craig Kimber about 2.30pm on June 27.

Kimber, 56, of North New Brighton in Christchurch, admitted a charge of careless driving causing death when he appeared in Blenheim District Court yesterday and was remanded for sentencing on February 4 to allow the dead man's family to complete victim impact statements.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Mark Harris said Kimber's blue utility vehicle had drifted across the centre line towards a line of three oncoming cars. It clipped the rear wheel of the first car, which had swerved out of his way, before hitting the second car, injuring the driver. Debris from Kimber's car also hit the third car.

The injured driver from the second car, a South African man, was flown to Wellington Hospital but had died when the helicopter arrived there at 4.53pm, he said.

Weather conditions on the day were good and did not appear to have been a factor in the crash. Mechanical fault had also been ruled out as a possible cause, and Kimber had not been speeding, he said. It seemed he had either fallen asleep or been distracted, Mr Harris said.

Kimber had been driving home to Christchurch from Nelson and decided to go through Marlborough because of reports of bad weather in the Lewis Pass, he said.

Defence lawyer Rob Harrison said Kimber had suffered a major head injury, along with other injuries, and had spent months in Burwood Hospital in Christchurch after the crash. He had trouble standing or sitting for long periods, was on ACC and did not know when he might be able to return to work. He had no memory of the crash but accepted it was his fault and was "devastated" someone had died.

Kimber had been a long-haul truck driver and held a driver's licence without incident since he was 15. He had not had a drink in four days before the crash and did not think he was tired on the day, but was at a loss to explain the crash, he said.

He had written to the victim's family telling them how sorry he was, but had balked at paying an emotional harm payment.

"As he said to me, ‘How can I put a value on someone's life? If I offer a payment, will I be insulting the family by saying this is what the life is worth?'."

The Marlborough Express