A Bay of Plenty apiarist carrying a load of bees has admitted he caused a crash which resulted in the death of his passenger.
Kerry Charles Power, 20, pleaded guilty to one count of careless operation of a motor vehicle causing the death of Bailey Honeycombe when he appeared in the District Court at Tauranga yesterday.
Power had also earlier admitted a raft of breaches of the Land Transport Act.
That relates to him driving more than his allowable maximum continuous work period, failing to have at least 10 hours continuous rest breaks, and making false statements in his driver's log book.
The Crown's summary of facts revealed that at 3.52am on November 27, 2015, Power was driving an Isuzu flat deck carrying a load of bees south on McKee Rd in the Matahina Forest, near Kawerau.
Seated beside him in the truck owned by Arataki Honey Rotorua was 19-year-old Bailey Billie Honeycombe who was asleep. Both men were wearing seat belts.
On the road ahead of Power's vehicle, travelling slowly up an incline, was a fully laden truck and trailer unit carrying a load of logs which weighed more than 134 tonnes.
As Power looked up ahead, he saw the lights of the logging truck's trailer, and began to brake and slowed down.
At the same time, he looked down to check his various engine gauges and, at that point Power stated, he sneezed.
Power told police he recalled there was fog and dust in the air.
When he looked up again his truck was fast approaching the rear of the logging truck, and he braked and attempted to swerve right, but was unable to prevent a collision.
The front left of Power's truck impacted with the rear of logging truck's trailer.
The impact caused the left cab area of Power's truck to collapse, crushing and killing Mr Honeycombe. No mechanical faults were detected with either vehicle.
An inspection of his work logbook and employment records revealed that Power had breached his cumulative work time and rest time hours on a regular basis between October 20 and November 21, 2015.
That included him making false statements about the start of his cumulative work day on 34 occasions, the summary of facts revealed.
Judge Thomas Ingram remanded Power - who has no prior convictions - at large pending sentencing on June 30.
Judge Ingram called for a pre-sentence and restorative justice meeting report.
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