Crash victim lambasts drunk driver for killing his friend
A Wellington policeman caught up in fatal motorcycle crash which claimed the life of one of his best mates says he will never forgive the man responsible.
Recidivist drink driver and Turangi man Garry Leonard Whalley, 54, was yesterday sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for driving drunk and causing the death of Wellington man John Alexander Wilson on November 25, 2012.
Reading his victim impact statement to Judge Philip Connell in the Hamilton District Court yesterday, Kirk McPherson - who needed reconstructive surgery on a broken ankle - said he had been in constant pain since the crash.
"But the pain of losing a friend, this is the worst pain of all. You Garry, took the life of my friend. You put me through pain that I didn't know existed."
Mr McPherson said he now experienced sleepless nights, picturing Mr Wilson bouncing down the road.
"Sometimes when I close my eyes I see the accident replaying over and over again . . . seeing John lying in the middle of the road bleeding from the face and the mouth.
"I spent 20 years in law enforcement trying to protect the public from people like you. You make me sick to the stomach, your blatant disregard for the laws of the land and disregard for other road users, all because you wanted to drink yourself to oblivion."
Mr McPherson - who went to court to see what Whalley looked like - said Whalley had caused him scars that "will never heal".
Whalley was driving home drunk about 9.30am when Mr Wilson, his wife Lynn, and Mr McPherson and the rest of their group rode up from behind.
The first half of the group passed without incident, but then Whalley started veering across the road, into the group, causing Mr Wilson to take evasive action. Mr Wilson then hit his wife's motorbike from behind before hitting Mr McPherson's bike, taking it from underneath him.
As people tended to the injured, Whalley left the scene, walking about 200 metres to his home.
Judge Connell discussed the issue of emotional harm with Whalley's lawyer Kerry Tustin, however the court heard Whalley had no money as he lived in a bus on Maori land and paid no rent.
Whalley has six previous drink driving convictions, the highest of which was for having a blood/alcohol reading of 1200mcg in 1994. He has a conviction for refusing to supply a blood sample, and he has served two prison sentences.
Whalley was also arrested after getting back behind the wheel two weeks after the crash on December 19, 2012, the day after Mr Wilson died in hospital.
Judge Connell told Whalley that he was disturbed by a comment in his pre-sentence report in which Whalley said he didn't believe he was that drunk at the time. Whalley had also made a similar comment about not causing the accident, he said.
"But you need to understand that it was you that caused those motorcycles to collide. It was your driving that brought about this accident and it was your driving that brought about this tragic death and the injury that has been suffered to the friend of Mr Wilson."
Along with being jailed on the charges of drink driving causing death, drink driving causing injury and driving while disqualified, Whalley was disqualified from driving for 6 years.
When contacted, Mrs Wilson said she'd faced the "cold hard truth that no amount of time that the judge ordered would change history".