Man fell asleep at wheel

Gisborne Courthouse. File picture by Rebecca Grunwell

THE driver for shearing gang members who were injured in a crash when he fell asleep at the wheel, had previously expressed concern to his employer about driving regularly without a break, Gisborne District Court heard.

Lal William Tuhura, 37, was driving seven passengers in a van along Wharekopae Road about 6.25am last January. He had been driving the gang for more than 30 days in a row without a break.

Weather and road conditions were good.

On a long straight, Tuhura fell asleep. The vehicle rolled over and back on to its wheels as it veered across the centre line, up a bank, through a farm fence and into a tree. Three of the occupants required hospital care. One suffered a broken collar bone, one a fractured hip and one a lacerated liver.

Tuhura was also seriously injured and is still on ACC.

The van was extensively damaged.

Tuhura pleaded guilty to three counts of careless use causing injury arising out of the injuries to his passengers.

Judge Allan Roberts said given Tuhura’s lack of ability to make emotional harm payments, he would instead impose an extended driving ban of 10 months.

No other penalty was imposed. A sentence of community detention was recommended but unnecessary, the judge said.

Despite Tuhura’s previous poor driving record, which included convictions for dangerous driving, careless driving, driving while forbidden or disqualified, and drink-driving, this incident was an accident, the judge said.

Tuhura was remorseful. There was no bad blood between him and any of the injured passengers.

One did not want any input into the report process but two acknowledged his apology.

Because of his injuries, Tuhura was still unable to work.

Counsel Mark Sceats told the court that before the accident, Tuhura had been diligently working very long hours and for more than 30 days in a row.

THE driver for shearing gang members who were injured in a crash when he fell asleep at the wheel, had previously expressed concern to his employer about driving regularly without a break, Gisborne District Court heard.

Lal William Tuhura, 37, was driving seven passengers in a van along Wharekopae Road about 6.25am last January. He had been driving the gang for more than 30 days in a row without a break.

Weather and road conditions were good.

On a long straight, Tuhura fell asleep. The vehicle rolled over and back on to its wheels as it veered across the centre line, up a bank, through a farm fence and into a tree. Three of the occupants required hospital care. One suffered a broken collar bone, one a fractured hip and one a lacerated liver.

Tuhura was also seriously injured and is still on ACC.

The van was extensively damaged.

Tuhura pleaded guilty to three counts of careless use causing injury arising out of the injuries to his passengers.

Judge Allan Roberts said given Tuhura’s lack of ability to make emotional harm payments, he would instead impose an extended driving ban of 10 months.

No other penalty was imposed. A sentence of community detention was recommended but unnecessary, the judge said.

Despite Tuhura’s previous poor driving record, which included convictions for dangerous driving, careless driving, driving while forbidden or disqualified, and drink-driving, this incident was an accident, the judge said.

Tuhura was remorseful. There was no bad blood between him and any of the injured passengers.

One did not want any input into the report process but two acknowledged his apology.

Because of his injuries, Tuhura was still unable to work.

Counsel Mark Sceats told the court that before the accident, Tuhura had been diligently working very long hours and for more than 30 days in a row.

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