Fatal crash driver sentenced

Tauranga electrician Greg Woledge with his partner Chelsea Findsen.
Tauranga electrician Greg Woledge with his partner Chelsea Findsen.

The driver of the car involved in the Maungatapu Bridge crash that killed Tauranga electrician Greg Woledge has avoided jail.

In Tauranga District Court today Iain Crisp, 45, was sentenced to community work and ordered to pay more than $49,000 in emotional harm.

Crisp appeared for sentencing after earlier pleading guilty to careless driving causing the death of 24-year-old Woledge, who was driving the AMP'T Electrical van that plunged off the bridge into the harbour on August 12 last year.

Crisp also previously admitted to careless driving causing injury to the passenger of the AMP'T van, Ashley Donkersley, falsifying his logbook as a bus driver, possession of cannabis for supply and possession of cannabis seeds and utensils.

Crisp was driving the Mitsubishi towards Mount Maunganui when he crossed the centre line hitting the electrical van driven by Woledge about 6.10pm. The van then ploughed through the bridge railing and fell five metres into the harbour at Rangataua Bay.

Passenger Ashley Donkersley, then 23, managed to escape after the van became submerged and was rescued by Constable Deane

O'Connor, who stripped to his underwear and dived into the freezing water and grabbed him.

Both were suffering from hypothermia by the time they reached shore.

Woledge however was trapped inside the van on the driver's side and was unable to be rescued. His body was recovered the following day when the van was lifted from the water by crane.

In court today, Judge Christopher Harding sentenced Crisp to 250 hours community work and ordered him to pay $29,000 in emotional harm to the Greg Woledge Trust. He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.

He was ordered to pay a further $9000 in emotional harm to Ashley Donkersley, $11,000 to the driver of the third vehicle involved in the crash and $16,134 for damage done to the bridge. 

- Sunlive

Fairfax Media