Fatal error 'could happen to anyone' - Mrs Hubbard
Jean Hubbard is not angry with the man who caused the death of her husband, Allan, and thinks the fine imposed on him yesterday is sufficient.
In a reserved decision Judge Gary MacAskill disqualified Andrew John Earl, 42, from driving for 12 months and fined him $2500 at the Christchurch District Court.
Earl was convicted on charges of causing death and injury by careless driving for the head-on collision which killed the Timaru financier at Hilderthorpe, eight kilometres north of Oamaru, in 2011.
Mrs Hubbard said the fine imposed was sufficient punishment. She did not see the point of Earl losing his licence now, two years after the event.
"I know he didn't intend any harm ... there's no way to replace another person's life," she said.
The judge concluded the Mosgiel man was either drowsy or asleep at the wheel.
Mrs Hubbard said she remembers nothing of the crash and was "pretty sure" she had not dozed off as Earl's defence had suggested. She remembers stopping about 10 minutes before the crash, then waking up in Oamaru Hospital.
Mrs Hubbard was driving a Honda Jazz south with her husband in the passenger seat and Earl was the sole occupant of a utility, with trailer, heading north.
The police had concluded that Earl's vehicle had veered to the right and into the path of the Honda, with the impact occurring in the southbound lane.
Mrs Hubbard has met Earl since the crash. "I had the impression he didn't know any more than me."
The defence had referred to earlier driving incidents involving Mrs Hubbard, but Judge MacAskill said yesterday: "Mrs Hubbard impressed me as a woman of intelligence and of sharp wits, unblunted by her years."
Another driver gave evidence of erratic driving by Earl before the crash.
Judge MacAskill said: "I conclude that the defendant's utility vehicle veered across the roadway into the southbound lane and into the path of the Hubbards' Honda because he was drowsy or had fallen asleep and was no longer consciously directing the course of the vehicle."
A slight ankle injury Mrs Hubbard sustained in the accident has healed and she is now looking to the future and spending time in her garden.
Everyone realised the grave danger of falling asleep when driving, Mrs Hubbard said.
"It can happen to anyone."
- © Fairfax NZ News