Young driver kills friend
A young driver who killed a woman while trying to prove to her that he could drift his front-wheel-drive car on a wet night has been sentenced to nine months' home detention.
Danielle May Reeves, 21, died last year, and her child is now aged three.
Reeves' family spoke in Christchurch District Court of Nathan Richard Siepkes crashing when he had twice been banned from driving until he got his licence, driving a car that was not registered or warranted, and answering a challenge to prove that he could drift the front-wheel-drive car.
There was heavy rain when the pair left a party and Siepkes sped along Birmingham Dr, Middleton, and lost control on a corner, crashing sideways into a parked car.
Reeves died of head injuries.
Siepkes, 21, had pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing death and two of driving while forbidden.
A Reeves family member told him in court: “We want you to know the pain you have caused. We are forever stuck with a life sentence.” The family refused an emotional-harm payment, not wanting to accept any money from Siepkes.
Judge Raoul Neave said Siepkes had been drinking but there was no suggestion he was over the legal limit.
“At the very least it must have have fuelled your bravado and clouded your judgment.”
He said there were tragic consequences arising from driving too fast in poor conditions, although there was no evidence of racing or showing off.
Siepkes had previous convictions for bad driving. He said that having caused the death of his friend, he sometimes lapsed into self-loathing.
“I suggest the best thing you can do to give some meaning to Danielle's life is to make a success of your own,” said the judge.
He imposed nine months' home detention, 200 hours of community work and five years' disqualification from driving.