GPS distraction cited in fatal crash

A man says he was distracted by his car’s GPS when he drove through a give way sign near Oxford, causing a truck crash that killed his wife.

Balram Kashyap, 36, has been ordered to pay emotional harm reparations to his wife’s mother, after admitting the charge of careless driving causing death.

Defence counsel Andrew McCormick said Kashyap was driving on Harmans Gorge Road in the Oxford area, and was distracted by the GPS unit in the car when he went through a give way sign at the intersection at Woodstock Road on December 17.

His vehicle crashed into a heavy truck and trailer unit. The car impacted with the front right-hand side of the trailer, and his wife, Aditi Mehta, bore the brunt of the impact.

Witnesses performed first aid until the emergency services arrived but she died at the scene.

He was charged with careless driving causing death.

At the Christchurch District Court sentencing, Mr McCormick said Kashyap had paid $10,000 to repatriate his wife’s body home to India, and also offered a $500 emotional harm payment to the family.

He said Kashyap was suffering physically and emotionally, and had no family in New Zealand.

Judge Jane Farish said it was a tragedy he would have to live with, and he had suffered serious injuries himself.

The driving was not dangerous, she said, just a tragic accident.

She disqualified him from driving for six months, and ordered the emotional harm payment.