Fatal crash driver jailed

By James Ihaka

The driver of a vehicle that crashed near Tauranga on Christmas Day 2011 killing two children has been sentenced to seven years and six months in prison.

Hetaraka Hikurangi Reihana appeared at the Hamilton High Court this morning having earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of manslaughter for the deaths of his cousins Brooklyn and Merepeka Morehu-Clark.

The two sisters were thrown from the car when he collided with an oncoming vehicle at a speed later described as "grossly excessive".

The 21-year-old's learner's licence had been suspended, he had failed to ensure his passengers - including his two year old daughter who sat under a lap belt with another passenger in the front seat - were properly restrained, he disregarded pleas for him to slow down and he had caused two deaths.

He also drove with a blood alcohol level that was more than twice the legal limit.

Reihana will serve at least three years and six months in prison before he can be considered for parole.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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