Driver jailed for fatal crash
A Christchurch truck driver responsible for a crash which killed a Fairlie council worker checking on freedom campers was jailed yesterday.
Gregory James Hormann, 59, died when a truck driven by 46-year-old Michael Paul Hutchison, crossed the centre line near Lake Tekapo, at 7.10am on December 14, 2017.
Hutchison was fatigued and had taken methamphetamine and cannabis to stay awake at the time of the crash.
He appeared before Judge Joanna Maze yesterday and pleaded guilty to causing death while driving a vehicle with evidence of a controlled drug in his system, exceeding 70 hours work time in a cumulative period, exceeding 13 hours work time in a day, failing to have 10 hours continuous rest, and making a false statement in a logbook.
Crown prosecutor Andrew McRae said Hutchison had incurred 25 driving and drug-related convictions in the last 28 years including careless driving causing injury in 1990 and 1993; possession of cannabis in 1992; driving with excess breath alcohol in 1994, 2002, and 2013; and dangerous driving in 2004.
‘‘It is extremely concerning that the defendant, with such an extensive history of driving convictions, has retained his transport class licence and has been employed in the transport industry,’’ McRae said.
Hutchison had blamed his employer for breaching driving regulations, which lead to him becoming fatigued, because he feared losing his job, McRae said.
In a victim impact statement, Hormann’s daughter Kelly, said it was ‘‘brutally unfair’’ she had lost her ‘‘supportive, funny, unconditionally loving’’ father.
Dealing with Hutchison’s court case meant she had not yet had the opportunity to ‘‘just grieve’’, she said.
Chrissy van Hassel, Hormann’s widow, said she and her husband were looking forward to an afternoon with their daughter visiting from Melbourne when he was killed.
‘‘That was the day, that lovely day it was meant to be, my heart was broken,’’ van Hassel said.
To Hutchison she said ‘‘because of your wilful irresponsibility, Greg lost his one precious life.’’
Judge Maze sentenced Hutchison to 31 months jail, 10 years disqualification from holding a professional driving licence, and five years disqualification from holding a personal driving licence.