Mother's daily reminder of tragedy

By Viv Logie of the Greymouth Star

The house was significantly damaged by the impact. Photo / Greymouth Star
The house was significantly damaged by the impact. Photo / Greymouth Star

Joe Hall says it "hurts" every time she passes by the boarded-up house where her son Judd Hall died in a high speed car crash through Greymouth on January 25.

Mr Hall was a backseat passenger in the car when the driver, a 28-year-old Greymouth man, sped away from a short police pursuit, lost control on a corner and slammed into the front of the vacant house.

The driver was yesterday charged with manslaughter, dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing injury and driving with excess breath-alcohol. He will answer those charges in the Greymouth District Court on April 29.

Today, Ms Hall said she was happy that the driver, whom she knew well, had finally been charged.

It gave her and the family a sense of 'closure' and by charging the driver he was being held accountable for what happened.

"He needs to be made accountable for what he did," Ms Hall said.

The driver had contacted the family requesting a meeting.

"Before he was charged I did not want to meet him face to face. Now he has been (charged) I will see him, probably this weekend," she said.

The scene of the fatality - in the middle of Greymouth and on State Highway 6 - has barely changed since January 25 and is a constant heartache for Ms Hall, who works directly opposite.

"Our smoko area looks across at the house. I can't go out there and every time I drive past I sing You Are My Sunshine - I hate seeing that house every day."

She said it would not make any difference to her if the house was pulled down or not; she would always remember it as the site where her boy died.

"I have been in the house and got some wood from it and I am going to make something out of the wood one day. If the house is ever pulled down I would like to plant a tree on the fenceline in Judd's memory."

The driver was impaled in the stomach by a splinter of wood from the house, and another passenger, a man in his 20s, suffered lung injuries from the impact, which shunted the house off its piles.

At the time of the accident police estimated the Subaru stationwagon was travelling about 140km/h when it sped past a patrol car parked outside St Patrick's Church, about 700m away.

Mr Hall had been picked up from his home in Runanga by his mates about 10.45pm, who had invited him to a party in Kumara.

Ms Hall said he was in his pyjamas when they persuaded him to get dressed to go to the party. Their vehicle crashed within half an hour.

- APNZ

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