Cody Dickey leaves Hamilton District Court with his wife
after admitting two charges of careless driving causing
death and injury. Photo: NZ Herald/Mike Walen
An American man who admitted causing a fatal crash on a
Coromandel Peninsula road has been ordered to pay $5500 for
emotional harm, and has been disqualified from driving for 18
Cody Dickey, 23, of Newark, California, appeared at the
Hamilton District Court today for sentencing, having earlier
pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving causing the
death of Robyn Eileen Derrick, and another charge of careless
driving causing injury to her husband, Phillip, in an
accident on May 30.
Dickey, a stationary engineer, and his wife were in New
Zealand celebrating their second wedding anniversary and were
due to fly home the following day.
The court heard how Dickey was confused by what he thought
were two sets of headlights as he rounded a corner on
Tairua-Whitianga Rd near Whenuakite in wet conditions.
The collision with the Derricks' 4WD vehicle saw Mrs Derrick,
52, die at the scene. Mr Derrick was airlifted to hospital
with serious injuries but has since been discharged.
The court heard how Dickey met the Derrick family for a
restorative justice session last weekend, two days after Mrs
Derrick's funeral was held in Papakura.
His lawyer Mike McIvor said Dickey was "overwhelmed by the
kindness and generosity of spirit" shown by Mrs Derrick's
He said Dickey had raised $4000 for emotional harm, but
without financial support or friends in New Zealand said his
client could only afford to pay more if he was able to return
to his job in the US.
The Crown sought a sentence that included a fine, community
service and disqualification from driving, but said his level
of offending was at the lower end.
Community magistrate Sue Hovell said Dickey had been driving
cautiously on the night, and alcohol and speed were not
factors in the accident.
She also said Dickey and his wife tried to render immediate
assistance to the Derricks following the crash.
Ms Hovell said Dickey had immediately accepted responsibility
for the crash, and cooperated with police and the court by
surrendering his passport.
She said "this was not a case where he crossed the centre
line due to overseas driving trends or inattention".
"I have little doubt, Mr Dickey, that you are totally
horrified as well as your wife …at the finding that you have
been found responsible for Mrs Derrick's death and Mr
"This will remain with you forever."
Ms Hovell convicted Dickey and ordered him to pay reparation
of $4500 for the charge of careless driving causing death
plus court costs.
On the charge of careless driving causing injury he was
ordered to pay $1000 in reparation.
He was disqualified from driving on both counts in New
Zealand for 18 months.
- James Ihaka of the NZ Herald