Driver accused of hitting pregnant woman in street race

An East Auckland motorist accused of hitting a pregnant pedestrian during an illegal street race, resulting in the death of her unborn child, will keep his identity secret for now.

The 22-year-old Point England resident appeared in the High Court at Auckland for the first time today, as not guilty pleas to manslaughter and several driving-related charges were entered on his behalf by defence lawyer Amy Jordan.

Justice Mathew Downs set a three-week trial for February 2025.

Police charged the defendant with manslaughter, which carries a maximum possible punishment of life imprisonment, two weeks ago. However, the crash had occurred six months earlier - late at night on May 19 as a crowd gathered at the intersection of Bruce Roderick and Offenhauser Drives in East Tamaki.

The woman was watching the street race when she was struck, resulting in serious injuries that necessitated emergency surgery, police have said.

“Tragically, the baby girl did not even survive the day and succumbed to her catastrophic injuries,” Detective Senior Sergeant Dean Batey said last month.

Immediately after the motorist’s arrest on the manslaughter charge, police put out a call for witnesses who may have filmed the crash.

“We know a number of people were filming proceedings,” Batey said, asking those with video to submit it online.

A hearing is set down for March next year to determine if the defendant’s interim name suppression will remain in place until the start of his trial.

Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes indicated to the judge today that the mother of the deceased child also intends to seek interim name suppression. That request is also slated to be heard in March.

While announcing the manslaughter charge last month, police said the case should serve as a warning to street racers and “to the spectators who are enabling this behaviour” that such actions pose risks to themselves and others.