'Not going to bring my son back': Families react after guilty plea in Timaru crash

The father of a 15-year-old boy killed in a horrific car crash that also claimed four other young lives is struggling to find any sympathy for the sole survivor who today pleaded guilty to five charges of dangerous driving causing death.

Javarney Wayne Drummond, 15, Niko William Hill, 15, Jack "Jacko" Wallace, 16, Joseff "Joey" McCarthy, 16, and Andrew Goodger, 15, were all killed when the Nissan Bluebird they were travelling in smashed into a concrete power pole on August 6 last year.

The impact was so severe, it sliced the car in half.

Only the driver, 19-year-old Tyreese Fleming, who was on a restricted licence, survived the smash.

Outside the High Court in Timaru this morning after Fleming admitted the dangerous driving causing death charges, Stephen Drummond, whose 15-year-old son Javarney died in the crash, spoke about his loss.

The Lost Boys: Joseff McCarthy, Niko Hill, Javarney Drummond, Andrew Goodger and Jack Wallace ...
The Lost Boys: Joseff McCarthy, Niko Hill, Javarney Drummond, Andrew Goodger and Jack Wallace (not pictured) were all killed in a crash outside Timaru. Photo: Supplied
The summary of facts read to the court today helped "put it all together" in what led to a horrific scene that he described as a "messy site".

"They had no hope," Drummond said.

"They [would have] passed away pretty quick."

Life is hard, he says, living "day-to-day". Since the crash, he has struggled with the loss of a beloved son.

"It's not going to bring my son back," Drummond said.

"He was a cool kid. He had a lot of things he liked doing – he was always doing something. That's the good memories – and the bad memories are what we've got now, of him not being here."

And he struggles to feel much sympathy for the driver.

"At the end of the day, if you drink alcohol and put your keys in the ignition and drive, then why should someone feel sorry for him when he's taken your kid's life? There's two sides of it. It sucks to be in my situation."

He hasn't yet thought about restorative justice and isn't sure if he'll go through with it.

Stephen Drummond, father of Javarney Drummond, one of five teenage boys who died in a crash in...
Stephen Drummond, father of Javarney Drummond, one of five teenage boys who died in a crash in Timaru last year speaks to media outside court. Photo: George Heard
Fleming was taken to Timaru Hospital with moderate injuries after the crash and posted a message on social media the next day to let people know he was alive.

He was discharged from hospital a week later.

Fleming was initially charged with five counts of manslaughter and made a brief appearance at Timaru District Court on December 8 last year.

This morning at a case review hearing, he entered guilty pleas through his lawyer Thomas Nation to the reduced charges of dangerous driving causing death.

Several members of families left distraught by the crash witnessed proceedings from the public gallery.

They listened in silence as the summary of facts was read aloud by Crown prosecutor Andrew McRae.

Driver breached licence terms

Fleming got his restricted driver's licence on August 4 last year, the court heard today.

At about 6.20pm on August 7, Fleming got two boxes of an alcoholic vodka-based drink and drove to the local skate park at Caroline Bay.

Goodger and Hill were with him and shortly after were joined at the park by Drummond, Wallace and McCarthy.

Between 6.40pm and 6.58pm, they spent time drinking with Fleming who posted on Snapchat a video of him "vortexing" at least two bottles, sculling the contents.

Between 6.58pm and 7.02pm, Fleming got in and out of his car several times, with the boot being opened and closed.

At 7.02pm, everyone got in the car except Goodger who was standing at its rear.

Fleming got out, the court heard, opened the boot and Goodger got in.

They drove off, with Fleming in breach of his restricted licence.

While in the boot, Goodger phoned a friend and during the call a voice could be heard telling Fleming to speed up.

At the intersection at Seadown Rd, Fleming failed to approach with caution, nor did he have any intent to stop, McRae said.

He failed to slow down and took the corner at between 110km/h – 115km/h.

Fleming lost control and veered onto the grass verge.

The overloading of the car, and with the weight imbalance of a passenger in the boot, impacted on his ability control the car and he hit a large concrete power pole at between 107km/h and 115km/h.

On impact, the car split in two and Wallace and Hill were thrown from the car.

All of the passengers were killed instantly, the court heard.

Fleming was transported to hospital and a blood sample was taken one hour and 43 minutes after the crash.

The sample returned a result of 50±2 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

The following day the defendant posted on social media from the Timaru Hospital "hello everyone just wanted to say I'm not dead I am very, very lucky to still be alive and I can't believe what has happened and I am so, so, so sorry to the families I have put in pain coz of stupid mistakes that I have made that has costed 5 lives."

Andrew Goodger's mother Andrea spoke outside court about the relief in hearing just what happened that night for the first time.

As soon as she heard one of the boys had been travelling in the boot, she knew it would have been her son.

"He was unstoppable – nothing would stop him," he said.

Today she remembered Goodger as a "fun, bubbly" son who loved friends, fishing, and guitar – a "real happy go-lucky boy".

Although she believes the crash was an accident, she was glad that Fleming pleaded guilty.

"He's got to pay for what he's done."

The crash, which was one of the worst seen on South Island roads in decades, devastated the Timaru community.

"Police would like to acknowledge the families of the young men," Aoraki Area Commander Inspector David Gaskin said after charges were laid.

"It has been an incredibly difficult time as they come to terms with the loss of their loved ones who died in such terrible circumstances.

"Timaru is a small community and a number of people have been impacted by this tragedy."

Fleming was remanded on bail for sentencing on June 29.

-By Kurt Bayer

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