Driver gets chance to attend inquest

An inquest into the deaths of Ern and Nancy Sutton has been adjourned to give a truck driver a chance to respond to evidence that he had smoked cannabis prior to the crash.

The Urenui couple, both aged 83, were killed when a 25-tonne load of steel pipes spilled off a truck and trailer unit on State Highway 3 at Motunui on May 28, 2012.

The Palmerston North driver truck driver Henry Tawhai, in his 50s, has already been sentenced after pleading guilty to a charge of criminal nuisance in not correctly securing the load.

In opening the inquest at New Plymouth on Thursday, Coroner Tim Scott said Tawhai had declined to appear at the inquest even if subpoenaed.

But after hearing a full day of evidence the coroner has decided to adjourn the inquest to give Tawhai a chance to change his mind at a reconvened hearing in Palmerston North.

Taranaki Daily News