Driving on wrong side fatal

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 24/01/2014

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An elderly driver on the wrong side of the road when he caused a fatal head-on collision with a motorcyclist has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death.

In the New Plymouth District Court yesterday, Archibald Edgar Macdonald, 81, pleaded guilty to the charge after being told by Judge Allan Roberts last week he was likely to get a community-based sentence.

Macdonald was driving north on State Highway 45 about 7.15am on May 13 when he realised he had missed the entry to an engineering shop he wanted to visit, the police summary stated.

Macdonald did a U-turn to return to the shop, about 200 metres down the road.

At the same time Opunake builder Mark Edward Tatham, 50, was travelling north on a Honda motorcycle.

Macdonald crossed the double yellow lines on to the incorrect side of the road and took a slow direct line towards the engineering shop. The two vehicles collided head-on. At the point of impact Macdonald was fully in the northbound lane and was still 23m from the engineering shop, the summary said.

Mr Tatham died from his injuries at the scene.

Macdonald told police he had not seen the oncoming motorcyclist till the "very last second".

In court yesterday Macdonald was remanded for sentencing on March 25.

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