Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Meth mum admits crash that killed child

Toni Ericksen was found to have methamphetamine in her system after causing the crash which killed her 12-year-old daughter Bryer Greenwood. Photo / APN
Toni Ericksen was found to have methamphetamine in her system after causing the crash which killed her 12-year-old daughter Bryer Greenwood. Photo / APN

An Auckland mother has admitted driving under the influence of methamphetamine and causing a crash that killed her 12-year-old daughter and injured a heavily pregnant woman in another car.

Toni Ericksen, 33, was scheduled to stand trial this week for driving under the influence of drugs causing the death of Bryer Rose Greenwood, the eldest of her two daughters.

She originally pleaded not guilty however the Herald has learned that she changed her plea to guilty on August 21.

Ericksen also admitted injuring her 8-year-old daughter Gemma Greenwood and another motorist in the same crash while under the influence of drugs, and being an unlicensed driver driving while prohibited.

She was driving her daughters home from Gemma's netball game on July 9 last year when she lost control of her car on Kaipara Coast Highway and collided with an oncoming vehicle. Bryer did not survive her injuries.

Court documents revealed that Ericksen tested positive for methamphetamine after the crash.

"A blood sample taken from the defendant shortly after the accident revealed that she had methamphetamine in her system," the police summary of facts stated.

It also said Ericksen had been forbidden to drive on July 1 last year "due to the fact that her learner's licence had expired in 2009".

On August 14 Ericksen's lawyer Peter Kaye indicated the defence was almost ready to proceed to trial. Expert witnesses were expected to give evidence about the crash analysis and the blood-alcohol and blood-drug test results.

Mr Kaye did not respond to the Herald yesterday and Ericksen could not be reached for comment.

When she first appeared in court she was supported by the president of the Auckland chapter of the Hells Angels gang, Douglas Jay, believed to be her current partner. Afterwards her then-lawyer Ron Mansfield said Ericksen had suffered a "tragic loss".

"There's not a moment in the day when she doesn't have that accident in the forefront of her mind. She's striving to deal with the realities of it on a daily basis. She is tremendously affected. She's devastated by the family loss resulting from that accident.

"She will vehemently deny the charges ... in particular the alleged cause of the accident. She denies that any drug was the cause or contributed to the accident," Mr Mansfield said.

Ericksen will be sentenced on November 30. The maximum penalty for killing a person while driving under the influence of drugs is five years in jail or a fine of $20,000.

- NZ Herald

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