Man jailed for fatal crash

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A 53-year-old man was sentenced to imprisonment yesterday after causing the death of a young father after an accident on State Highway One near Palmerston in October.

Stuart Rowan White, of Palmerston, appeared before Judge Joanna Maze at the Oamaru District Court on one charge of driving, with an excess blood alcohol level of 157mg, in such a manner as to cause the death of Cameron Alexander Blaze Johnson (known as Blaze), 24, on October 20, 2013.

White was convicted, sentenced to three years and four months’ imprisonment, ordered to pay $9019.10 to Mr Johnson’s mother, ordered to pay analyst fees of $93, and disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s license for five years (after which date he is ordered to apply for a zero alcohol licence).

On October 20, 2013, White had been consuming alcohol at his Palmerston address, shortly before 3pm he drove with an associate on State Highway One and did a U-turn into the path of Mr Johnson who was driving his newly purchased motorcycle from Dunedin home to Christchurch.

The impact of the collision forced Mr Johnson to be catapulted through Mr White’s vehicle, receiving major injuries.

He was flown to Dunedin Hospital where he later died, leaving behind his family and young son.

The deceased’s mother Tina Johnson and her sister both read victim impact statements during the hearing yesterday.

Ms Johnson’s tearful statement addressed Mr White who caused the death of her only child.

“Every moment since he was killed has been filled with anguished and unrelenting sorrow.”

White had a fair trial, but he gave Mr Johnson a death sentence and his family a life sentence of suffering, she said.

“His death is a void in my heart and the hearts of his whanau.

“I don’t know how to live with his death and I don’t know if I can.

“Because of one man’s actions no one will call me mum again.”

Crown solicitor Andrew McRae said White was weaving across the road and at one point the passenger of the vehicle had to take action.

He disregarded the law and the safety of others causing the death of Mr Johnson, Mr McRae said.

White had been upset at the pain he had caused Mr Johnson’s family, his defence lawyer John Sandston said.

He cried when he heard the victim impact statements and his raw emotion showed he was remorseful.

Judge Maze thanked the family for their courage during the victim impact statements.