A Hamilton man says he must have fallen asleep after celebrating his birthday before veering off the road and crashing head-on into a car, killing its passenger.
Justine Anderson was sitting in the front seat of her partner, Nick Horwood's Nissan Skyline, when Girish Mahadev Kale's vehicle abruptly swerved into the southbound lane they were travelling in.
Miss Anderson, 24, died of her injuries at the scene.
In the Hamilton District Court today, Kale, 42, pleaded guilty to one charge of careless driving causing the death of Miss Anderson and careless driving causing injury to his pregnant wife, Anagha Kale, after the crash on December 5, last year at Karapiro.
Miss Anderson, a former Cambridge High School student, and Mr Horwood had been visiting her family in Cambridge and were on their way back to Tauranga when the crash occurred.
The pair were about to do renovations on their home and were looking forward to getting married one day, Mr Horwood earlier told the Herald.
Little did they know that Kale had just spent the day celebrating his birthday, which included a flying lesson and spending time at the beach with family, before they made their way back to Hamilton.
The court heard that when they hit Karapiro, about 6pm, Kale's people mover vehicle slowly veered left, going onto the grass verge for a short time before it then sharply veered back onto State Highway 1, on a 45 degree angle, crossing the centre line and crashing head-on into Mr Horwood's vehicle.
Mr Horwood, who suffered only bumps and scratches, said he tried to swerve to avoid the collision but it was too late.
Kale's wife suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to Waikato Hospital.
When spoken to by police, Kale, a co-director of Kiwi Tourism Limited, said he must have fallen asleep.
He was remanded on bail to reappear for sentencing in July.
In the meantime, he will attend a restorative justice conference with the victim's family.