A young West Auckland plumber has been sentenced to almost
two years in prison after the deaths of two of his friends
while he was driving drunk last year.
Joel Dylan Bowlin, 22, pleaded guilty at the Waitakere
District Court in May to two charges of excess blood alcohol
causing the deaths of Ashley Walsh 20, and Tye Gibbs, 19.
At the same court today Judge John Bergseng sentenced Bowlin
to 21 months' imprisonment over the deaths.
Bowlin was also disqualified from driving for two years and
ordered to pay $650 in reparation to a property owner whose
fence was damaged in the crash.
According to the summary of facts, on August 24 last year
about 2.45am, Bowlin was driving a van along Old North Rd,
Kumeu. It was foggy at the time and road conditions were said
to be good but damp on the 80km/h stretch.
Bowlin lost control at a right-hand bend, veering right then
left and then leaving the road.
The summary said the van rolled violently over an open drain
before smashing into a wall and coming to a stop upside-down.
Mr Gibbs, who was wearing a seatbelt, and Ms Walsh, who
wasn't, died at the scene.
Bowlin's blood alcohol reading immediately following the
crash was 113mg per 100 ml of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.
Bowlin's lawyer John Munro said he would appeal against the
Judge Bergseng said many of those who had provided references
for Bowlin said the crash had left him a "significantly
He had stopped drinking and completed a defensive driving
course and the Right Track driver behaviour programme.
Bowlin had no ongoing drug or alcohol issues, but had
suffered ongoing post-traumatic stress disorder following the
crash, he said.
However, Bowlin needed to be held accountable for his
actions, Judge Bergseng said.
Victim impact statements provided by the families affected by
the crash all spoke of the devastation that they had
suffered, he said.
Given the fact two people had lost their lives as a result of
his actions, a community-based sentence was not appropriate,
Judge Bergseng said.
- By Brendan Manning of APNZ