Man admits dangerous driving causing death

Brent Andrew Gordon, of Cromwell, admitted dangerous driving causing the death of Joanne Steel (40), of Invercargill, when he appeared before Judge Dominic Flatley in the Queenstown District Court yesterday.

The charge related to a fatal car crash on State Highway 6 at Wye Creek on February 25.

Gordon was the driver of a Pumpcrete truck which collided with a Nissan Terrano 4WD and a car about 6.20pm.

At the time, a police spokeswoman said the 21-tonne concrete truck was travelling north to Queenstown when it crossed the centre line, hitting the vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.

Mrs Steel, the pastor of Invercargill's Southern River Church, was the driver of the 4WD and died at the scene.

Her 14-year-old daughter, Aimee, was injured, as was the driver of the car, Pippa Shaw, who was pregnant at the time.

Gordon admitted two counts of dangerous driving causing injury; two charges of between February 25 and 27 failing to have at least 10 hours' continuous rest time in a cumulative work day, being a period of less than 60 minutes in a cumulative work day commencing at 3.30am on February 25; and producing a log book that was false in material, particularly incorrect start times and times of rest periods for February 25, on March 1.

Prosecutor Sergeant Ian Collin sought to have a condition for Gordon not to drive a motor vehicle before his sentencing next month.

However, defence counsel Maxine Knowler said Gordon was still driving.

"Obviously, he's aware of what the immediate outcome of sentencing will be.

Ms Knowler said her client had been "as co-operative as one could imagine with the police in the investigation".

He had "essentially done everything he can" to minimise any further trauma, had made contact with one of the victim's families and had put his life in order to meet a "considerable amount of emotional harm reparation".

"He believes ... that is the one thing that is the priority out of all of this."

Ms Knowler said Gordon required a licence to continue working and earn an income to "put himself in a better position to do the right thing".

Sgt Collin said the reason Gordon was in court was because of his driving in his employment capacity.

In addition to the driving itself, there were aggravating factors including the length of time he had been driving, the altering of driving logs and past convictions for driving offences.

It was a matter of public safety, he said.

Judge Flatley said he did not think it right Gordon be driving from the point of admitting guilt.

"He has a previous history and, quite frankly, I think it would be wrong of the court to say he should have the ability to drive at this point given he has pleaded guilty ... to serious charges.

"He has an extremely poor history and I take the view he simply doesn't have the right to drive and I think the community would support me in that."

Gordon was remanded on bail to May 16 for sentencing.



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