Pilot fined over smash

By Mark Story


A pilot has been ordered to pay $5000 in emotional harm after killing another professional pilot in a horrific road crash.

Robin Langslow, 59, a top-dressing pilot from Otane, appeared in Hastings District Court last month for sentence on a charge of careless driving causing death, after his inattention cost Masterton helicopter pilot Brian Bowden his life.

Mr Bowden, a 39-year-old father of four, was killed on July 13, when two vehicles collided on Whakapirau Rd, near Hastings.

The impact in the 100km/h zone crushed the left-hand corner of the van, inflicting multiple injuries to Mr Bowden, who was in the front passenger seat.

The driver received serious injuries and was taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital and later discharged. Langslow received minor injuries.

Mr Bowden was survived by his three children, step-daughter and fiancee, Shirlene Larsen.

Ms Larsen told the Times-Age the tragedy had caused irreparable damage.

"No punishment in the world can bring Brian back or ease the loss and pain of this horrific, careless nightmare that has forever changed our lives. Not just for me and the children, but for everyone who knew Brian," she said.

A court summary showed the accident on the intersection of State Highway 50 and Whakapirau Rd occurred in clear, dry weather about 1pm.

Langslow's northbound Toyota Landcruiser approached the T-junction, where he looked over his left shoulder to the south to see what was coming, then drove through the give way sign. The two vehicles both swerved to avoid impact but collided near the centre line.

Police said Langslow immediately took full responsibility and showed extreme remorse.

While he could not be reached for comment yesterday, his wife Alison Langslow said the family were finding it hard to return to normal since the accident.

"It's been horrendous, just horrendous. We've been through restorative justice but this is a tragedy beyond belief and obviously so much more so for his [Bowden's] family. It's every driver's nightmare. All the apologies in the world simply won't fix this."

It is understood the two pilots did not know each other.

Langslow was also fined $3000 and disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Alix Chittock, Pahiatua-based owner of Tararua Heliwork, said earlier that Mr Bowden had been a pilot with Wairarapa Helicopters, was a good pilot and "an absolutely straight-forward sort of guy".

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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