Guilty plea over crash that killed nurse

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A Southland man has pleaded guilty and said he deeply regrets his actions following a fatal crash in Invercargill.

Rodney Martin (53) appeared yesterday in the High Court at Invercargill where he faced a charge of reckless driving causing the death of Southland Hospital nurse Nola Jane Paterson-Barton.

The incident happened at the intersection of Oteramika Rd and Mill Rd South about 6.30am on November 21, 2019.

Crown prosecutor Riki Donnelly read the summary of facts and told the court Martin failed to stop at the intersection — which had a stop sign on it — and his car T-boned Paterson-Barton’s vehicle.

He said the defendant was used to driving in that street and said the road was a common crash site.

The victim was trapped in the car. Witnesses tried to help her until emergency services arrived, but Mrs Paterson-Barton died as a consequence of the crash, he said.

Martin told police he thought he had enough time to cross the road but he acknowledged his mistake and was deeply sorry for the choice he had made.

Defence counsel Fiona Guy Kidd said Martin wanted to engage in restorative justice with the victim’s family.

Justice Cameron Mander remanded on bail him until his sentencing on June 30.

Another Southland man, Jacques John Francis Mark De Reeper faced three charges in the High Court related to another fatal accident.

His presence at court was excused by Justice Mander, but his lawyer Sonia Vidal entered a not-guilty plea to three charges: manslaughter, operating a motor vehicle in race and dangerous driving.

The incident happened on April 13, 2019 when Garth Robinson (56), of Invercargill, died after his motorcycle went off the road at Otahuti Rd about 5.20pm.

A trial date was set for May next year and De Reeper was remanded until his next appearance on July 28.


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