Sentencing delayed for tourist who admitted careless driving caused deaths of two women

By Lindy Laird -
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Kylee Anne Rakich.
Kylee Anne Rakich.

Sentencing for an American tourist who admitted his careless driving caused the deaths of two women - one eight months pregnant - has been deferred for two weeks.

Thomas James Springer, 66, from San Francisco, was due to appear in Kaikohe District Court this morning for sentencing over the double fatality on State Highway 10, near Kerikeri, at about 6pm on Saturday.

He pleaded guilty at his first appearance in court on Monday.

Virginia Keogh-Pitman with her son Trent.
Virginia Keogh-Pitman with her son Trent.

Kylee-Anne Rakich, 29, of Ahipara, and Virginia Keogh, 44, of Whangarei died in the crash at the junction of Puketona Rd in Oromahoe. Rakich had already named her unborn baby girl Harper.

A 21-year-old man, who was driving their car, was airlifted to Whangarei Hospital by the Northland Rescue Helicopter in a stable condition.

An 8-year-old child in the same vehicle was also taken to hospital.

Judge Greg Davis said the sentencing would be put on hold while restorative justice meetings were held with the families of the women.

The judge said the families had decided it was "too soon" to begin the process, given it had been less than a week since the women died.

Springer was charged with two counts of careless use of a motor vehicle causing death and one of careless use of a motor vehicle causing injury. The charges carried a maximum penalty of three months jail and $4000 fine.

He left the court with his lawyer, Mike Dodds, and court security staff shielding him from the media.

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