Guilty plea over cyclists' deaths

"My boy was also in the group - he was the next bike behind."

The driver of a car involved in a collision with a group of cyclists in which three people died last month has admitted causing their deaths.

In Morrinsville District Court today, 23-year-old Kristy King, of Matamata, pleaded guilty to three charges of careless driving causing death.

She has been remanded on bail and will appear in court for sentencing on February 14.

King was driving a car when it collided with the group of cyclists on the Walton-Morrinsville Rd on November 14.

The accident killed cyclists Wilhelm Muller, 71, Mark Ferguson, 46, and four days later in hospital, mother-of-three Kay Wolfe, 45.

In a statement read by her lawyer Paul Gascoigne today, King said she was "completely devastated" by what had happened. She said she would never drive again.

King was extremely tearful as the summary of facts was read out.

Members of her family and relatives of the victims were also in court, most of whom were in tears as well.

A statement from police at the time of the crash said King crossed on to the wrong side of the road on a corner before colliding head-on with the riders from the Morrinsville Wheelers Cycling Club.

The group had been training for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

Mrs Wolfe's widower, Roger, last week said King was a "victim too" and appealed for better training for young drivers.

Roger Wolfe and his 16-year-old daughter Kelly joined about 300 pedallers and supporters at a rally held at Queens Wharf in Auckland on December 5 to demand safety improvements for cyclists

Mr Wolfe, who farms bulls between Morrinsville and Gordonton, told the Herald he had yet to meet Ms King but he had heard "she's a nice girl from a good family."

"She's a victim too," he said.

He did not know how long King had been driving, but in a speech to the rally bemoaned a lack of training for young people before they were allowed to drive solo.

"The driving licence period has got to be longer and you people, when you drive through the Waikato, you've got to let your kids drive through there," Mr Wolfe said.

"Dad's going to have to sit in the back seat and give the kids experience on the roads."

He is thankful that his 18-year-old son Gavin, who was riding behind his mother, was not run down as well.

"My boy was also in the group - he was the next bike behind."

Mr Wolfe would usually have been with the cyclists on their ride, but he was taking the youngest of the couple's three children, 12-year-old Shane to a sports event at the time of the crash.


Can anyone tell me why if you knock a cylist over with a car and kill them you get charged with carless driving causing death and not manslaughter? It would seem to me that having a driving licence witch allows you to operate circa 1000kg of metal at up to 100 Km/h mere inches away from other road users is a great responsability indeed and, not unlike a gun licence, with the responsabilty comes consiquences should you, through your own lack of skill, ability or just plain old lack of attention hurt or kill someone? so why the water-down charge of carless driving causing death? wikipedia describes involentary manslaughter thus:Constructive manslaughter

Constructive manslaughter is also referred to as ‘unlawful act' manslaughter. It is based on the doctrine of constructive malice, whereby the malicious intent inherent in the commission of a crime is considered to apply to the consequences of that crime. It occurs when someone kills, without intent, in the course of committing an unlawful act. The malice involved in the crime is transferred to the killing, resulting in a charge of manslaughter.

For example, a person who runs a red light in their vehicle and hits someone crossing the street could be found to intend or be reckless as to assault or criminal damage (see DPP v Newbury[11]). There is no intent to kill, and a resulting death would not be considered murder, but would be considered involuntary manslaughter. The accused's responsibility for causing death is constructed from the fault in committing what might have been a minor criminal act.

I will look forward to hearing peoples thoughts on this