Container-truck driver pleads guilty

SASHA BORISSENKO
Last updated 12:58 18/03/2014
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ
LUCKY TO BE ALIVE: Argentinian brothers Agustin Carrasco, left, and Matias Carrasco survey the wreckage of their crushed vehicle after an accident in Rai Valley last year.
Crushed by a truck
MARTIN DE RUYTER/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Tourists from Argentina Matias Carrosco and Agustin Carrosco with their car that was involved in a two car crash with a truck in the Collins Valley between Nelson and Rai Valley.

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A truck driver has admitted fault for a crash that saw four people miraculously escape serious injury after their cars were hit by a shipping container.

Gavin Lewis Knox pleaded guilty to careless use of a vehicle causing injury when he appeared in the Nelson District Court yesterday.

The charge followed a crash on December 16 on State Highway 6 in Collins Valley, between Rai Valley and Nelson, when the truck tilted, and the shipping container it was carrying ploughed into two cars.

Argentinian brothers Matias and Agustin Carrasco amazed emergency services by walking away from their flattened vehicle. Shortly after the accident they told the Nelson Mail they had hunched down as low as they could and held each other as the 13-metre container slid across them, crushing the roof. It came to a halt at the rear of their vehicle.

The other car, carrying Belinda Vavasour, 66, , and Father Aidan Kay, 70, both from Blenheim, was also swiped by the container. Mrs Vavasour received moderate injuries to her back and head.

According to the police, as the truck went around the corner the weight of the load caused the left-hand wheels of the semi-trailer unit to lift off the ground. Then the truck unit lifted and Knox lost control of the two units.

Defence counsel Mark Dollimore said Knox's employer, TNL Group, had gone out of its way to replace one vehicle to the value of $40,000. They also gave Mrs Vavasour flowers and chocolate, and helped deliver some furniture. TNL replaced the Argentinians' car to the value of $2000, helped sort their insurance and provided accommodation.

Judge Richard Russell scheduled sentencing for April 8 so that the restorative justice process could take place. " I want to know from the victim's point of view that all is well."

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