A regional council transport manager’s inattention on the road caused a pile-up crash which involved five cars and left two people with injuries.
On Thursday, Christopher Bland Clarke was convicted of two charges of careless driving causing injury after he pleaded guilty to causing a crash in Hamilton on June 20.
The 51-year-old is employed by the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) as its transport services manager. As part of this role, he oversees the region’s bus services.
Detective Sergeant Dave MacKenzie told the New Plymouth District Court that Clarke was driving a Toyota vehicle on Wairere Dr about 4.20pm.
“At the time there was a heavy amount of traffic flowing in both directions, the weather was fine and visibility was good,” he said.
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There were four vehicles in front of Clarke who were travelling in the same direction, but had come to a stop due to the heavy traffic flow.
“The defendant has failed to stop in time and crashed into the first of the four vehicles, projecting this vehicle into the next vehicle. This continued until all four vehicles has been hit,” MacKenzie said.
Two people were injured in the crash, including Clarke’s wife who suffered two fractured wrists. She had to be hospitalised and undergo surgery.
The second victim, a female driver of one of the other cars, fractured a rib, which resulted in a lung infection.
Moderate to extensive damage was done to all of the cars involved in the crash.
Lawyer Julian Hannam said Clarke accepted his actions had caused the injuries suffered by the victims along with the vehicle damage.
Judge Garry Barkle said Clarke’s momentary lapse in attention had a “grave impact” on the other people involved but he deserved credit for his previously clean criminal record and early guilty pleas.
Along with a six month driving disqualification, Clarke was ordered to pay $2550 in reparation.
Mike Nield, TRC director corporate services, said the matter would have no impact on Clarke’s ability to perform his duties.
He said no further comment would be made on a “personal and private matter of a staff member”.