Teen driver sen­tenced for fa­tal crash

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Local News - LIBBY WILSON

Two wheels go­ing off the sealed road started a spin that led to a death.

Taine Mor­ris­sey fought and failed to re­gain con­trol of the ute on the morn­ing of Novem­ber 1, 2016, and the en­su­ing crash killed one of his brother’s best mates.

Four teenage boys were in the ve­hi­cle on the ru­ral road near Mata­mata: Mor­ris­sey, his younger brother, and two col­lege friends.

As they drove back from fundrais­ing for a col­lege rugby trip, the Hilux spun and then rolled twice, and Corbin Mor­gan was thrown onto Maiseys Road.

The 16-year-old died at the scene.

Taine Lewis Mor­ris­sey, 18, pleaded guilty to three charges of care­less driv­ing – one caus­ing death and two caus­ing in­jury – in re­la­tion to the crash.

He was sen­tenced to com­mu­nity work and a li­cence dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion in Mor­rinsville District Court.

He was also or­dered to pay $13,000 in repa­ra­tion to the fam­i­lies af­fected.

Corbin’s fam­ily mem­bers held pho­tos of him and strug­gled to ex­plain their loss through vic­tim im­pact state­ments.

The would never see him go to the school ball, get mar­ried, or be­come a fa­ther, they said.

Mor­ris­sey ac­cepted the an­guish he had caused and felt like the whole town hated him, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment read on his be­half.

Mor­ris­sey had of­fered to drive his younger brother and friends to a chicken farm for their fundrais­ing for a Mata­mata Col- lege rugby tour be­cause his fa­ther was busy on the farm, Com­mu­nity Mag­is­trate Kathryn Wilson said.

Vis­i­bil­ity was good and the road was dry, but he was breach­ing his re­stricted li­cence con­di­tions and tragedy struck on the way home, around 10am.

Mor­ris­sey can’t re­mem­ber or ex­plain the crash, he said in a state­ment read on his be­half.

‘‘I know the ac­ci­dent was my fault and there is noth­ing I can do to put things right other than to plead guilty and take re­spon­si­bil­ity for it,’’ he said.

‘‘Corbin was one of my brother’s best friends … I know that [my brother] blamed me for what hap­pened and for the loss of his friend.’’

Mor­ris­sey was scared about his first court ap­pear­ance but felt bet­ter af­ter plead­ing guilty in front of Corbin’s fam­ily, he said.

A box of tis­sues was handed around as Corbin’s fam­ily told Mor­ris­sey what the crash had cost them. Grand­mother Ngaire Mor­gan, who helped raise him, was at the Base in Hamil­ton when she got the phone call about the crash.

‘‘It was like a dark smoke bomb had sur­rounded us,’’ she said.

‘‘I never imag­ined that I would have to bury a grand­child … I had done ev­ery­thing in my power to keep him safe all his life.’’

The crash also hurt the sick­ness ben­e­fi­ciary fi­nan­cially – she spent her in­her­i­tance on fu­neral costs and sup­port­ing fam­ily.

Mor­ris­sey’s re­stricted li­cence stip­u­lated that he couldn’t carry pas­sen­gers or drive a man­ual ve­hi­cle, Wilson said.

The po­lice Se­ri­ous Crash Unit found speed was not a fac­tor in the crash, but low pres­sure in all four of the Toy­ota Hilux’s tyres was, she said.

Sev­eral peo­ple, in­clud­ing Corbin, were not wear­ing seat­belts, though they were later found not to meet war­rant of fit­ness stan­dard.

In sen­tenc­ing, Wilson con­sid­ered Mor­ris­sey was young, pleaded guilty early, had no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions, and at­tended restora­tive jus­tice con­fer­ences. Mor­ris­sey was or­dered to pay repa­ra­tion or $13,000 – $12,000 to Corbin’s fam­ily and $1000 to the fam­ily of an­other vic­tim.

He was also sen­tenced to 100 hours of com­mu­nity work and a 12-month driv­ing dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion. He must com­plete a de­fen­sive driv­ing course be­fore he can re­gain his li­cence.

DOMINICO ZAPATA/STUFF

Four teenage boys were in the ute as it re­turned from a chicken farm on Maiseys Road, out the back of Wa­haroa. Tyre marks show where the car lost con­trol. Be­low: Taine Mor­ris­sey.

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