Driver in crash that killed teens near Timaru jailed

A young driver behind a crash that killed five teenagers has today been jailed for two and a-half years.

Family members sitting in a packed High Court public gallery in Timaru were angered by Justice Rob Osborne's final sentence.

"Grow eyes in the back of your f****** head, boy," one man yelled before storming out of the courtroom.

Others muttered it was "disgusting" as they filed out of court.

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.

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

Tyreese Fleming has been jailed for two and a-half years for causing the crash that killed the...
Tyreese Fleming has been jailed for two and a-half years for causing the crash that killed the five teenagers. Photo: Georg heard
Today, at the High Court in Timaru, Fleming was sentenced after earlier pleading guilty to five charges of dangerous driving causing death.

Grieving family members earlier told how their lives have been reduced to "living an absolute hell-hole" after the avoidable tragedy.

There was a packed public gallery filled with family and friends, some wearing tribute T-shirts to the victims.

Justice Osborne opened the hearing by addressing the court and saying it would be a "significant moment for all those involved" and asked that "everyone is respectful of the process which will be hard for everyone".

Harrowing and emotional victim impact statements from 16 grieving family members were relayed to the court this morning.

They spoke of the devastation and heartbreak at losing their young loved ones.

Goodger's father Richard Goodger paid tribute to a "perfect young lad at the prime of his life" who tragically "made a mistake and got into a vehicle when the driver had been drinking".

Joseff McCarthy, Jack Wallace, Niko Hill, Javarney Drummond, and Andrew Goodger were all killed...
Joseff McCarthy, Jack Wallace, Niko Hill, Javarney Drummond, and Andrew Goodger were all killed in the crash outside Timaru. Photo: Supplied

"It was sheer hell the night my son never came home," he told the court.

"I was woken approximately at 11.50pm by Andrew's girlfriend when she phoned and told me. Andrew had been killed in a car crash.

"Since Andrew was killed, I am living an absolute hell-hole."

His mother Andrea Goodger said her son was born with a hole in his heart and had undergone surgeries but was a real fighter.

A busker, surfer, skateboarder, skier, and lover of magic tricks, he is remembered, she said, as a kind, loving child who loved his whole family.

"As a mother, to lose a child who is young in such a way has been devastating," she said.

"Tyreese, you have caused five beautiful boys' deaths and I feel you should be held accountable for the choices you have made."

His sister Georgia spoke of her heartbreak at losing her "best friend".

"Andrew was the best brother I could ever ask for ... it will take me years to accept he is gone," she said.

"It all really hurts to know this is because of your stupid, stupid mistakes.

"You may think you've got the s****y side of things, but believe me, you don't."

Javarney's father Stephen Drummond said his "life sucks" and a huge part of his family's lives was missing "because of stupidity and a drunk driver".

Stephen Drummond, says no parent should have to bury a child. Photo: George Heard
Javarney's father, Stephen Drummond, says no parent should have to bury a child. Photo: George Heard
"I'm going to live a life sentence … because I have lost a son."

Hill's last words to his mother Carissa Hill was that he loved her.

When she was told her eldest son - "my greatest achievement" had died, her "heart shattered into a million pieces, barely hanging on".

"This pain I feel is like no other pain," she told the court. "A physical pain like bricks piled on top of your chest, one after the other.

"I miss him with every ounce of me."

While accepting it was an accident, Hill said it was an avoidable accident and told Fleming in the dock that he was the reason she was left to suffer a "life sentence".

Hill's aunty Jess Hill said her beloved nephew was taken from them, "stolen from our lives".

She spoke of Fleming's actions creating a ripple effect, destroying so many lives, after having "played Russian roulette with six lives".

"I'll never forgive you for what you've done," she said.

Wallace's mother Charntel Roberts suffers terrible visions of her son's final moments.

"I'm scared of a future without Jack," she said.

She told Fleming that her hope for him is that he comes out of this a better person and honours the five lost children by "doing good in this world".

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.

In April he entered guilty pleas through his lawyer Thomas Nation to reduced charges of dangerous driving causing death.

After his last court appearance, Stephen Drummond, whose 15-year-old son Javarney died in the crash, spoke about his loss.

Life was hard, he said, 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.

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."

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

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 110 and 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 107 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."

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."


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