Young driver admits causing three deaths

May 9, 2017 | By More

A 14-year-old unlicensed driver has admitted causing the deaths of three teenagers through his dangerous driving near Leeston on Boxing Day.

The teen admitted the charges, as well as causing injury to a fourth passenger in the car, at an appearance before Judge Jane McMeeken in the Christchurch Youth Court.

Cole Hull, Sam Drost, and Lily Moore, all aged 15, were killed when the car they were passengers in failed to take a corner and crashed into a row of trees near Southbridge overnight on Boxing Day. Another teen, Alex Brown, received minor injuries.

The young driver, who was also seriously hurt in the crash, was remanded to June 6 and the judge directed a social worker’s report and plan for that appearance.

It could mean the case will be finally dealt with on that day.

The driver appeared in court along with his father and his youth advocate Tony Greig.

Mr Greig told the court that a Family Group Conference had been held but had been unable to reach an agreement about how the case should be handled.

That led to the youth admitting all four charges. A lay advocate has also been appointed for him by the court.

Judge McMeeken asked the youth if the FGC had been tough, and he replied, “Yes.”

She told him: “It’s an interesting process. I’m sure these conferences are helpful for the victims and their families, but they are certainly not easy and I’m pleased you were there.”

Because he had now admitted he committed the offences, the court had to deal with them, and he was remanded for a social worker’s report and plan, the judge said. The social worker would meet with the youth and his family and talk about what the options were.

The plan and its recommendations would be presented to the court at the next appearance. Extra remand time had been allowed for a “thorough” report, said the judge.

The three killed in the crash were high school friends.

The five teens were in a Nissan Tiida which was returning from visiting a nearby camping ground on Christmas night.

It is believed the car was being driven at speed south on Harts Rd when it failed to take a corner just before the junction with Southbridge-Sedgemere Road. It hit a grass mound and became airborne for about 14m before hitting a row of trees.

The passenger who received minor injuries was able to wave down a passing motorist, a woman who helped pull the injured driver from the wreck before calling police.

In the days after the crash, the father of Lily Moore, Marcus Moore, said he had met the driver and had forgiven him. He said: “He was like a broken little boy that is deeply hurting.”

Friends of the teenagers laid tributes at a crash scene in the days after the fatal smash.

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Category: Focus

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