Wellington, New Zealand: Fatal crossing collision verdict received sympathetically

26 Nov

A young person who was 17 at the time of a fatal collision has been sentenced to 200 hours community service and has had his driving revoked for one year by a judge sitting at Wellington District Court.
While the motorist was severely injured his girl friend was ejected from the vehicle and killed.

The motorist failed to see the approaching train as he approached a passive level crossing and continued straight ahead into the side of the train with fatal consequences. The accident on February 17th, 2013 was the second fatal crash at the Wiltons Rd level crossing between Carterton and Masterton. The first was in 2002 with the result being the death of the motorist. The crossing was also the location of a third non-fatal collision.

The motorist was originally charged with dangerous driving causing death, but he pleaded guilty when the charge was reduced to aggravated careless driving causing death. The root cause of this accident is seen as the inappropriate nature of the Wiltons Road level crossing. However with less than 200 road vehicles traversing the crossing each day, KiwiRail has reiterated that it cannot justify the expense of upgrading the crossing to an active status at a cost of between NZD120,000-200,000 as 63 other crossings were a higher priority.

Because of the community’s view of the level crossing and the lack of aggravating factors, the community service sentence is considered appropriate. Indeed, throughout the time since the accident in February 2013, the victims family has been supportive of their daughters boy friend.

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