Bevan Hurley

Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

Bereaved mother calls for zero tolerance for drink driving

Ashley Walsh
Ashley Walsh

The mother of a young woman killed in an alleged drink-driving accident is calling for a zero tolerance approach towards drink driving.

Ngaire Parker's daughter Ashley Walsh and fellow passenger Tye Gibbs died after the van they were travelling in crashed on Old North Road, Kumeu, last August.

The 22-year-old driver Joel Bowlin was charged on Friday with two counts of driving with excess blood alcohol causing death.

Ashley's mother Ngaire Parker said she welcomed the charges, but said it wouldn't fill the gaping hole left in her life.

"We're still really upset about it all. Ashley was such a gentle little person, she was different to other teenagers.

"We've lost our beautiful girl, it doesn't bring comfort. We're glad that he's been charged but it doesn't bring comfort to Ashley's dad or me or her little sister that misses her every day."

Parker said she was shocked to discover Bowlin had posted pictures of himself making an obscene gesture on Ashley's Facebook page just three weeks after the crash.

Despite this, she had kept Ashley's memory alive through building a extension to the family's Great Barrier Island bach and named it after her.

"We've made things that she wanted before she passed away."

Ashley lived at home and worked in the family gallery and sawmill just outside Dargaville.
Customers still asked after Ashley, unaware of her fate.

And Parker has also called for a tough approach to drink drivers.

"I think people that have been drinking shouldn't be allowed to get behind the wheel at all. Especially people that age, they shouldn't be able to get behind the wheel. For young people it should be zero. When you get behind the vehicle you're responsible for the people in the vehicle."

A police spokeswoman said Bowlin would appear in the Waitakere District Court on February 25.

- Herald on Sunday

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