Teen's rubbish truck death: council prosecuted

Refuse worker Jane Devonshire was killed on the job when a rubbish truck went over a cliff. Photo / iStock
Refuse worker Jane Devonshire was killed on the job when a rubbish truck went over a cliff. Photo / iStock

Auckland Council is being prosecuted over the death of a 19-year-old woman.

Refuse worker Jane Devonshire was killed in August last year when a rubbish truck, owned by Auckland Council contractor Onyx, went over a cliff in Birkenhead on the North Shore.

Devonshire, of West Harbour, was crushed in the incident which happened on her fifth week in the job.

A council spokeswoman confirmed to the Herald that a single charge has been laid against them and council will not comment on the issue while the case is before the courts.

It's understood the charge laid by Worksafe New Zealand is under the Health and Safety Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure contracted workers are not harmed and council are due to appear in North Shore District Court on March 18.

The legal action comes after Devonshire's family called for council to be held responsible and for barriers, fences or a roading mirror to be erected so no one else's life is cut short by a similar tragedy.

Shortly after the tragedy, Jane Devonshire's father, Philip Devonshire, said:

"Too young, far too young. She was a fun-loving, outgoing person.. They need to do something about it. We need to know something will be done about it. This can't happen again."

Her sister, Maria Douglas, also said at the time she was dreading seeing the place where her baby sister took her last breaths.

"When we started coming down the hill [to the crash site], I thought: 'I don't want to go any further'. But I had to. She was my sister," she said.

"Rest in peace, I love you so much in my heart."

Residents spoke of three other vehicles - including a concrete mixer, car and another truck carrying a digger - that have careened over the edge of the same bank in the last 30 years.

However, told the Herald an Auckland Transport spokesman said there had been no crashes reported within a 50m radius of the Hebe Place and Kauri Road intersection in the past 20 years.

An Onyx driver died when his rubbish truck crashed into a house in the same North Shore suburb. Avondale man Patrick Harrison, 51, died in the July 2007 crash in Radiata Lane, only a few streets away from the incident involving Devonshire.

- NZ Herald

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