$10,000 payment ordered in fatal crash case

Court House from Victoria Sq-101A $10,000 payment has been ordered to the family of a young driver killed in a highway crash, but they will have to decide what to do with the money.

Defence counsel James Rapley, for the 23-year-old driver who fell asleep at the wheel and killed 20-year-old Finlay William Dunning, suggested that the family might consider paying the money to a project their son loved, such as The Spirit of Adventure trust.

Jared Kenneth Rook, a rebuild worker, was being sentenced by Judge Paul Kellar in the Christchurch District Court after admitting a charge of careless driving causing death in the September 2015 crash on State Highway 1 near Dunsandel.

Rook had been away for the weekend with friends at Queenstown, for skiing and skydiving, and drove the group back to Christchurch on the Sunday.

Judge Kellar said his carelessness was in not realising that he needed to share the driving or take breaks. His passengers had fallen asleep near Dunsandel, and then Rook also fell asleep.

A passenger awoke and shouted as the car drifted off the road to the left. Rook woke and over-corrected, sending the vehicle across the road and into the southbound vehicle that Finlay Dunning was in.

The former Takapuna Grammar School pupil who was living near Methven died at the crash scene.

Judge Kellar said the crash had involved the death of one much loved outstanding young man, as a result of carelessness by one equally loved upstanding young man.

He noted they were both about the same age.

He said Rook had written a letter of apology to Finlay Dunning’s family and had wanted to attend a restorative justice meeting, but the family had declined to receive the letter or take part in the meeting.

“It is understandable that they aren’t in a place where they want to accept the letter or engage in the restorative justice conference,” he said.

Rook, who had no previous convictions, had offered $10,000 borrowed from his family as an emotional harm reparation payment. He would eventually repay the family.

The judge ordered that payment but noted that the Dunning family might want to send the money on to some project that their son loved, such as the Spirit of Adventure training ship. “That is a matter entirely for the family,” he said.

He ordered Rook to do 125 hours of community work, which he hoped could be carried out in a placement involving road safety. He disqualified Rook from driving for nine months.


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