Twenty-year-old hit car with mother and two children then fled, reports Nicola Brennan-Tupara .
A Hamilton drink-driver who fled after ploughing into a car containing a woman with two children has been sentenced to nine months' home detention. Michael Thomas Peden, 20, of Pukete, yesterday said in Hamilton District Court he never meant to hurt anybody in the May 4 smash.
"If I had the chance, I'd take it back".
Peden says he "panicked" after colliding with Dinsdale mother of three, Stacey Kaye, sending her Subaru skidding 45 metres into the front yard of a house on Bankwood Rd in Fairfield. Two of Mrs Kaye's children, Jenna, 12, and Jaron, 8, were in the car with her. Peden was later charged with three counts of driving with an excess breath alcohol level causing injury, dangerous driving, one charge of failing to stop after an accident and one of failing to ascertain injury.
Yesterday, while reading her victim impact statement, Mrs Kaye described how scared she was that night.
"My children were screaming. I thought my children and I were going to die.
"I remember seeing a power pole on my right side and I remember thinking my husband would be alone because he'd be told we were dead."
Her children were moderately injured, while Mrs Kaye would today go for an MRI to see how her recovery was going.
She came off worst, with serious muscular and connective tissue damage, and was still not back at work fulltime at the after-school care centre she runs.
Speaking after the sentencing, Mrs Kaye told the Waikato Times she thought the nine months' home detention sentenced was "a bit light".
While she didn't want to see Peden in jail - which Judge Peter Spiller signalled could have been an option - she thought nine months was too short.
She'd met Peden during a restorative justice conference and didn't believe his remorse was sincere.
"He kept making excuses for his behaviour," Mrs Kaye said.
"I feel he was just going through due process to get a lighter sentence."
However, she hoped that Peden would learn from the crash.
"I do hope he has genuinely learnt from what he did and that it's never repeated again.
"I hope he becomes a productive member of society."
Peden was ordered to pay her $7800 in reparation, but at $50 a week, she said it would be a while before she saw that money.
"We were out of that money pretty quickly, yet he gets years to pay it back," she said.
Mrs Kaye told the court her children were still struggling to cope.
"I hate seeing my children so affected by this."
Mr Peden's lawyer, Russel Boot, said his client was remorseful and simply panicked that night when he drove away.
He had done everything he could since to try to make amends, including fronting up for a restorative justice conference which was difficult for him.
The judge gave Peden a discount for his guilty plea, age and remorse, reducing the sentence from 25 months in prison, to nine months' home detention. He was disqualified from driving for a year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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