New Caledonian tourist pleads guilty for fatal crash near Tirau
A tourist driver who killed a Hamilton motorist had no explanation as to why he crossed the centre line and smashed into an oncoming car.
New Caledonian Jeff Tau Viriamu has pleaded guilty to one charge of careless driving causing death and two charges of careless driving causing injury.
The 43-year-old entered the pleas through lawyer Thomas Sutcliffe in Hamilton District Court on Thursday.
The crash at Piarere, near Tirau, happened on the evening of August 23 and killed Hamilton woman Alysia Jade Kelly.
Three other people were hospitalised - including Viriamu.
He and his partner had visited New Zealand several times before and, on this occasion, arrived in the country on August 18, the summary of facts read in court said.
After a few days with friends, they rented the Hyundai car at Auckland Airport about 1.15pm on the day of the crash "with the intention of travelling to Taupo for the night".
At an "easy right-hand bend" in Piarere, the Hyundai crossed the centre line and into the northbound lane.
The Toyota driver moved as far left in his lane as he could, trying to avoid a collision, but a grass embankment stopped him moving aside further.
"The impact between the two vehicles was front left to front left, with both passengers taking the brunt of the impact," the summary said.
Kelly was the Toyota passenger, and she died at the scene.
Viriamu's partner was in the front seat of the Hyundai and suffered crush injuries to her torso and a fractured leg, and remains in intensive care at Waikato Hospital.
The Toyota driver had multiple fractures to both arms and required surgery.
Viriamu had no explanation for how he ended up on the wrong side of the road, the summary said.
He had a New Caledonian driver licence which allows him to drive in New Zealand.
Police have the passports of both Viriamu and his partner.
Community magistrate Ngaire Mascelle remanded Viriamu on bail for sentencing on October 26.
She also directed a restorative justice conference request to go to the victims.