Charges laid over Turangi crash

Friday 18 May 2012, 12:47PM
By New Zealand Police


Police have charged the driver of the vehicle which crashed near Turangi on Saturday.

The 20 year old US citizen has been charged with three counts of careless driving causing death and four counts of careless driving causing injury.

The Police Serious Crash Unit has completed its investigation and is satisfied there were no vehicle or scene factors which contributed to the crash.

Bay of Plenty Road Policing Manager Inspector Kevin Taylor says the decision to lay charges comes after careful consideration of all the information available.

"We are very aware that this is an incredibly difficult situation which has been traumatic for all those involved.

"As with any investigation into a serious road crash, we look at three factors which could have contributed – the vehicle, the environment and people.

"We have done that and determined there is sufficient evidence to lay charges against the driver.

"This is not a decision taken lightly and we understand the tragedy will already have had a significant impact on this young man. However we are faced with a situation where three people have died and others are seriously injured and we must apply the law in an objective and dispassionate way.

"The process from here is that the case will be put before the court. Once the court process is concluded it will then be for the Coroner to make the final determination about cause of death.

"I am also aware of suggestions about the use of drugs or alcohol which have come from outside the inquiry. Police have looked at this and I would like to make it very clear this has no basis in fact. We have ruled out any use of drugs or alcohol by any of the young people involved, including the driver.

"I have met with the students and their families to update them about the process and answer their questions. Police have also returned the property from the vehicle which crashed," said Mr Taylor.

The driver will appear before the Auckland District Court this afternoon and has been asked to surrender his passport while the court process is ongoing.

As this matter is now before the court Police are not in a position to make further comment or give interviews.