Tourist to go to jail for fatal crash

Singaporean tourist Kok Wei Ko will go to jail for five driving convictions resulting from a fatal crash in South Otago in November.

The 25 year-old engineer was given a reduced sentence of a year and nine months for five driving related convictions after a crash on State Highway 1 between Balclutha and Clinton in November.

Judge Stephen O'Driscoll also ordered Ko to pay $18,000 reparation for emotional harm.

Judge O'Driscoll described the incident as a complete tragedy. Ko's counsel Brian Kilkelly requested a non-custodial sentence.

Judge O'Driscoll rejected that request, saying he was required to denounce Ko's appalling driving.

An inexperienced driver Ko and three life-long friends holidaying in New Zealand were travelling north in a rental Rav 4 on November 12 when Ko decided to pass a truck on double yellow lines.

However, he did not give himself enough time and hit  southbound Mercedes car driven by Michelle Squires a coming towards them. 

Even though Ko veered right to try and avoid her vehicle, his vehicle hit Squires' head-on on the passenger side.

Her father Neville Squires, 82, in the front passenger seat was killed by the impact. Ko's three passengers were also injured.

Ko subsequently pleaded guilty to careless driving causing death, careless driving causing injury and three charges of dangerous driving causing injury.

Pre-sentence documents said Ko had a high level of maturity in the way he viewed what he had done.

His counsel Brian Kilkelly said Ko was hugely remorseful, thinking not of himself as is common, but only of his victims.

The Southland Times