Healing to take place in the wake of Matata triple fatal

The man charged with careless driving causing the deaths of three road workers near Matata has admitted culpability for the incident.

46 year old David Michael Cox has entered guilty pleas before Judge Paul Mabey at the Whakatane District Court this morning.

He was charged over an incident on February 26th, when three Rotorua Higgins workers were killed on State Highway 2 between Pikowai and Matata.

Police in their summary of facts say the accused was travelling east along State Highway 2 in a Mitsubishi Heavy Truck when the vehicle crossed the centre lane, and collided with a Higgins maintenance vehicle.

The impact of the collision caused it to shudder and turn 180 degrees into a ditch.

The three men who were working in the ditch on State Highway 2 were hit and killed in the process.

Police say the accused was travelling at about 90km/h in a 100km/h posted speed zone, the road was flat, dry and visibility was clear along the straight stretch of road.

Family and friends of the victims wept inside the court room this morning, while a group of about six family and friends supported the accused.

Addressing the family and friends of the victims, Judge Paul Mabey urged they consider undergoing restorative justice with the accused.

He says though Mr Cox's charge by definition includes death, it is one of the least serious driving offences in comparison to drink driving or reckless driving.

Judge Mabey says the fault of the driver determines the seriousness of the charge and in this case carelessness only means falling below the standards of driving.

He says it is simple to fall below the standard.

Mabey says Mr Cox has admitted culpability for his actions and though the aggravating factor in this case is loss of life -- it is now time for healing to take place.

Sam Gardner