Christchurch truck driver David Connell found guilty over cyclist death

By Charlie Greenhalgh

Christchurch truck driver Daved Peter Connell in the Christchurch District Court. Photo / Kurt Bayer
Christchurch truck driver Daved Peter Connell in the Christchurch District Court. Photo / Kurt Bayer

Her cyclist brother was killed a decade ago by a truck driver today found guilty of doing the same thing, but her family never received an apology.

Lesley Avery's brother Stephen Craig Avery was killed when cycling to work on the Kapiti Coast north of Wellington in 2005.

He was hit by David Peter Connell, who was today found guilty of careless driving causing death of Taiwanese tourist Ming-Cheh Hsieh.

Taiwanese visitor Ming Chih Hsieh was run over and killed by Christchurch truck driver David Connell at the intersection of Carmen and Waterloo roads in the Christchurch suburb of Hornby.
Taiwanese visitor Ming Chih Hsieh was run over and killed by Christchurch truck driver David Connell at the intersection of Carmen and Waterloo roads in the Christchurch suburb of Hornby.

Hsieh, 33, was struck by Connell's truck and trailer unit at a Christchurch intersection in 2014 and died at the scene.

Lesley Avery said today she was pleased to hear about the guilty verdict against Connell, saying "kama's got him".

She wants him to be banned from driving trucks and says it still rankles her family never received a sorry.

"I saw a photo of him sitting in the court and he didn't look at all remorseful. It looked like he was just sitting there thinking god this is another waste of time," Lesley Avery said.

"We've had to move on because nothings going to bring him back. It had ripped my family apart, my immediate family... I miss my brother so much because we were so close."

Stephen Craig Avery was struck and killed by driver David Peter Connell while cycling to work on the Kapiti Coast in 2005. Photo / Supplied
Stephen Craig Avery was struck and killed by driver David Peter Connell while cycling to work on the Kapiti Coast in 2005. Photo / Supplied

Lesley Avery said she hoped Hsieh's family gained some peace from today's verdict.

"Apparently he apologised to them and that was nice to know. The thing that gutted me and my family is he didn't contact us at all."

Hseih died at the scene, with his bike leaving shallow gouges on the road's surface as it was dragged along the road.

Connell pleaded not guilty ahead of a judge-alone trial in Christchurch District Court in May.

In a written judgment, read to the court this morning, Judge Gary MacAskill found Connell guilty of careless driving causing death.

The judge said the 51-year-old was a professional and experienced driver, who was aware of the vehicle's blind spots.

He found although Connell didn't know whether a cyclist was in the cycling lane, he took no precaution at all against that risk and should have known he had the option to wait a few seconds.

"He ought to have know that this option was available to him," Judge MacAskill said.

"The fact that he thought he was driving carefully is not the point. A reasonable careful driver would have responded to the risk by waiting a few seconds, to be sure that there was no unseen cyclist in the cycle lane and that they way was clear for him to turn left."
Connell will be sentenced on October 11.

The conviction is Connell's second for careless driving causing the death of a cyclist.

- Newstalk ZB

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